Michael Slezak
May 22, 2006 AT 12:00 PM EDT

So The New York Times’ Book Review editor polled ”a couple of hundred prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages” and asked them to weigh in on the ”single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years.” Their pick? Beloved by Toni Morrison (pictured), which, alas, means I’ll be pulling that one off the shelf this weekend and giving it another go. True confessions time: I tried tackling Beloved a few years back but it gave me a case of the mean blues, so I put it down and opted for some junk food instead (if memory serves, Molly Jong-Fast’s Normal Girl, which tasted like Cheetos). For the record, the runners-up in the poll included Don DeLillo’s Underworld, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, John Updike’s Rabbit series, and Philip Roth’s American Pastoral. Anybody out there care to weigh in on the sages’ choices? Or suggest something that should’ve made the list but didn’t?

addCredit(“Toni Morrison: Stephen Chernin/Reuters”)

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