Here is one nomination for the most overrated novel of the 20th century.
I wonder about Gide and Sartre as well. J.D. Salinger is too easy a target, as is John Barth. How about Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird? I keep on thinking there is an obvious and juicy British nomination (just look up how the Penguin Guide to Classical Music treats Elgar recordings), but I can’t settle on a single glaring name which stands above all others.
For the most overrated major author, I’ll pick Carlos Fuentes. I love Mexico (and I’ve tried reading his works in Spanish), but I find he deadens the place rather than bringing it to life. Had he not been around for the fashionably left-wing, anti-imperialist 1960s, he’d just be another guy with a pen.
The most overrated good book is Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady, which although very good is far from his best work.
What are your picks?