Amanda Filipacchi

She debuted with a funny and altogether winning novel that includes an 11 year-old girl’s seduction of a 29 year-old man (Nude Men, 1993). She followed that with the darkly humorous, tale of a young woman who is transformed from drama school dropout to Oscar winner with a little help from a man who imprisons her in his cloud-filled home Vapor (1999). She next gave us another comically surreal work, Love Creeps (2005), about a female gallery owner who rediscovers her zest for life thanks to the man who is stalking her; a favor she returns by selecting another man, at random, that she stalks.

Now, as she enjoys warm reviews for her fourth novel, The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty, and has stirred debate with her New York Times commentary on the gender politics of author photos, Amanda Filipacchi has become the newest member of Top Ten Land.

It is hard to write. It is harder to write with edge. It is harder still to write funny works with edge. Hardest of all – perhaps – is writing funny edgy works that do not deploy the sharp mocking bite of satire, but a softer, more offbeat and generous humor that allows us to see ourselves and our world, differently.

Amanda can do that.

Writing in the Boston Globe, John Freeman stated, “Amanda Filipacchi is the funniest novelist you’ve never heard of.” Now you have. Check her out.

Amanda carries on the great Top Ten tradition of the one-hit wonders. I’m not easily surprised – says ever person who easily is – and yet, as shocked as I was a few weeks ago to note that Christopher Bollen was the first to include The Executioner’s Song, The Quiet American and The Talented Mr. Ripley on his list, I felt it double Sunday after our databases revealed that Amanda is the first to select The Picture of Dorian GreyThe Lottery and Other Stories as well as The Blazing World.

She’s also the first to include Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi but that’s less surprising than scandalous as it’s a work of nonfiction! She’s hardly the first contributor to pierce the veil of categories (I’m talking to you, Alan Furst) and hey, it’s her list.

Amanda Filipacchi’s Top Ten List

1. The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt (2014).
2. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (1913–27).
3. Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi (1947).
4. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905).
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847).
6. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866).
7. The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde (1891).
8. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson (1916-65).
9. Emma by Jane Austen (1816).
10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925).