The plot of a novel
What exactly is a plot? Google's dictionary says: a sequence of related events, a storyline.
I used to think that a good novel should have a particularly original plot with surprises. When I look at my favorite novels like this, that's not necessarily the case...
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1. Thomas Harris: Hannibal
Agent Clarice Starling is treated unfairly by political careerists. Man-eating psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter finds this arousing and contacts her. This brings his enemy, a super-rich meat baron, onto the scene. The meat baron catches Lecter, who is freed by Starling and kills him. Lecter and Starling end up living together.
2. Herbert Rosendorfer: Briefe in die chinesische Vergangenheit
Two mandarins in the 10th century build a time machine. One of them travels a thousand years into the future and ends up in Munich in the 1980s. He is taken in by a history teacher, learns the language and experiences all sorts of misunderstandings. He criticizes the way of life of his host society. After a year he manages to return.
3. Cormac McCarthy: Blood Meridian
A boy (no name) travels aimlessly through the Wild West. He joins a gang of irregulars who massacre Apaches and Mexicans and are nearly destroyed several times by Indians. They kill and destroy for fun. The leader of the group is a highly intelligent man: Judge Holden. He loves to abuse children and then kills them. He always expresses original philosophical views. In the end, the boy became a man. Judge Holden sexually approaches and (presumably) kills him as well.
4. Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
A civil servant is unfaithful to his wife. His sister, Anna Karenina, wants to mediate. She meets the playboy Count Vronsky. He makes her turn away from her boring husband. However, she gets jealous and ends up throwing herself in front of a train.
The novel also contains an ultimately happy love story between the country squire Konstantin Levin and young Kitty, who initially rejects him because she prefers Vronsky. However, Vronsky only plays with her. After a mental breakdown, Kitty and Levin get together and get married.
5. Stanislaw Lem: Solaris
A planet is covered by an ocean, which is a highly evolved living being. Psychologist Kris Kelvin visits the Solaris Research Station. After humans' brutal experiments with the ocean, the ocean strikes back and conducts its own experiments on the people on the station, sending them deceptively real and physically tangible "humans" from their past. One of these characters is a revenant of Kelvin's partner who committed suicide. Although Kelvin knows it is an illusion, he accepts it as reality.