Top 5 Campus Novels
By Annie Muir
1. Engleby, Sebastian Faulks
This is not just another campus novel about a boy, Mike Engleby, who attends an ‘ancient university’ and falls completely and unrequited-ly in love with a girl, Jennifer Arkland. It is so much more than that. Read it and find out.
2. Starter for Ten, David Nichols
Set in 1985, Starter for Ten is the story of Brian Jackson from Essex’s first year at an unnamed university, and his two obsessions: Alice Harbinson and the TV Quiz show University Challenge. It was made into a film starring James McAvoy in 2006.
3. This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald’s debut novel examines the lives and morality of post- World War I youth through his protagonist Amory Blaine, a student at Princeton University. The novel evolved from 80 pages of an unpublished novel called The Romantic Egotist which Fitzgerald himself wrote during his own time at Princeton.
4. Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers
Gaudy Night – set in Shrewbury College, an all-women institution in Oxford – has been called ‘the first feminist mystery novel’. In the novel, published in 1935, the prestigious college is a place of mischief and malice, where pranks, sinister poison-pen letters and vandalism are everyday occurrences.
5. The Rules of Attraction, Bret Easton Ellis
The novel is famous for beginning in the middle of a sentence (the first word is ‘and’), throwing you straight into the lives of a group of spoiled bohemian college students at the fictional Camden College, a liberal arts school on the East Coast of the United States. The story is told in first person accounts by the love-triangle of protagonists, who do drugs, don’t go to class, and throw a few “End of the World” parties.