Famous authors who only wrote one great book

I’m not talking about authors like Margaret Mitchell who only wrote one book, but authors who wrote several books.

“Wind In The Willows” Kenneth Graham. His other two books are boring.
“The Book Of The Dun Cow” By Kurt Wagner. The sequel was the most depressing book I ever read.
“The Moon Pool” By A. Merritt. The rest of his books are formulalic pulp fiction.

IIRC, the opinion concerning Joseph Heller was that Catch-22 was his one great book.

To Kill a Mockingbird–Harper Lee
The Catcher in the Rye–J. D. Salinger
A Confederacy of Dunces–John Kennedy Toole

I’ve never read anything else by Bram Stoker that was anywhere near as good as Dracula.

Leading to the persistent suggestions that Truman Capote was the actual author.

which is pretty funny, since his first book - Other Voices Other Rooms - is basically set in the same place with many of the same characters, but a completely different view of the situation. Capote’s character is the central one and completely saddened and confused at being left in their weird town and basically abandoned. Nothing like the Capote character Dil in Mockingbird…

I’m not talking about authors like Margaret Mitchell who only wrote one book, but authors who wrote several books.

Actually, she wrote at least 2 other books - “Lost Laysen,” and “Margaret Mitchell, Reporter.”

That would be Walter Wangerin. He has several other books that have received 4-5 star ratings on Amazon.com (including the sequel you mentioned, The Book of Sorrows), but of course that doesn’t mean they’re “great.”

How about James Barrie—didn’t he write other stuff besides Peter Pan?
Didn’t Mary Shelley write other (forgettable) stuff besides Frankenstein?

Walter Miller, Jr. “A Canticle for Leibowitz”
Mordecai Roshwald “Level 7”

Mary Karr’s Liar’s Club has been highly acclaimed as a great novel about childhood years.

She then wrote a sequil dealing with teenage life, Cherry, that that was nowhere near the quality of her first book.

Has Madeline L’Engle written anything of fame other than A Wrinkle in Time?
And I assume Anne Frank is out, right?

Ralph Ellison is known only for Invisible Man. I wasn’t sure he even wrote anything else - apparently that was the only one of his novels published during his lifetime, though.


Ellison’s Shadow and Act is listed as one of The Modern Library Board’s 100 Best English-Language Nonfiction of the 20th Century.

I’ve never agreed with, but often heard, that opinion.
IMHO his second novel “Something Happened” is actually better than Catch 22.

I also really enjoyed the Catch 22 follow-up which I think was called “Closing Time”

Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Some Kesey fans prefer Sometimes A Great Notion.

Madeleine L’Engle actually wrote a couple different series about the characters in A Wrinkle in Time and their children. She’s also written a few books on faith.

I love Richard Adams’ Watership Down, but after reading Girl in a Swing*, I can’t bring myself to try Shardik.
*sucked ASS.

Well, as for me, I found the sequels (A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet) just as fascinating as the first. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Have any of Miguel Cervantes’ other works (besides Don Quixote) lasted the test of time?

Also, how about the original MASH, written by Richard Hooker (which IIRC is a pen name)? I think that the original author wrote one or two direct sequels (MASH Goes to Maine, MASHmania), after which a bunch more that were based on the TV show had his name on them.