10 Novels That Deserve a Prequel


Today marks the US release of Skagboys , Irvine Welsh’s long-awaited prequel to his cult classic Trainspotting. Though in general we think the world has way too many prequels and sequels, we have to admit that we’re a little bit psyched to find out the origin stories of our favorite crew of tortured junkies. Welsh’s new book got us thinking about other classic and modern texts that we think could use a prequel — sure, it might be only to answer our own selfish lingering questions, but what else are prequels for? Click through to see the books we chose, and add your own suggestions in the comments — you never know, you just might get your wish.

The Road , Cormac McCarthy

McCarthy’s bleak post-apocalyptic trek never answers the question that was tugging at us the entire time — what happened to the world? Though we’re not sure we exactly want to know, we think a book about the slow destruction of the world written by McCarthy would be terrible and harrowing and perfect.

The Great Gatsby , F. Scott Fitzgerald

We hear Gatsby’s origin story — more or less — in the novel, but now that we’re over the reveal, we’d definitely read an entire book about it. All that bootlegging, class struggle and forbidden romance is sure to make for a rip-roaring novel.

The Catcher in the Rye , J.D. Salinger

Most characters Holden Caulfield’s age don’t need an origin story (they are the origin story), but with this fellow we still have questions we want answered. Maybe it’s just the story of that elusive and departed Allie Caulfield, whose story, not to mention his thoughts, might shine some deliciously satisfying light on his elder brother. Plus, it’d be a tragedy, and we love those.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest , Ken Kesey

Randle Patrick McMurphy is a hero (or anti-hero, jury’s still out) for the ages, and we’ve always felt that we didn’t get enough of him trapped in that mental institution. We’d love a novel spanning a few years of McMurphy free in the wild world, getting into more kinds of trouble than we can even imagine.

Moby-Dick , Herman Melville

Come on, don’t you want to know what happened to little Ahab to make him such a crazed megalomaniac? There’s the leg and all, sure, but how was his relationship with his father? Just wondering.

Vanity Fair , William Makepeace Thackeray

Thackeray’s novel begins at the end of Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley’s tenure at Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for Young Ladies — huge mistake, as far as we’re concerned. We love the idea of Becky a tough academy for girls, sneaking about and engaging in social warfare. After all, she clearly picked all up those dubious social skills somewhere…

The Giver , Lois Lowry

We would kill to read the story of the first Giver, the one who was there at the moment when the world decided it couldn’t bear its own knowledge and feelings any longer and had to pile them into one person alone. Now that’s some serious angst.

A Study in Scarlet , Arthur Conan Doyle

You know you want to see what Sherlock Holmes was like in high school. We’re imagining it kind of like Gossip Girl, but with better pranks and even wittier repartee.

No Country For Old Men , Cormac McCarthy

Again with the origin stories (and again with McCarthy), we know, but we’d be fascinated to read about what the sociopathic Anton Chigurh was like as a younger man — where did his brutal, strange code and near complete lack of empathy come from? Has he ever been in love? These are questions worth exploring.

Brave New World , Aldous Huxley

Though Huxley plunges us into the future, we’d be interested in a prequel somewhere between here and there — if only so we can know what to look out for. Plus, we think such an unstable, transitional world might make for a lot of drama, not to mention end badly.