Kobo Abe: Inventive, clear storyteller; individuals reacting to abnormal environments,
often bizarre reality. His masterpiece: Women in the Dunes (made into a great 1964 movie).
Kurt Vonnegut: Inventive storyteller, frequent understated humor, often bizarre reality.
The wonderful Cat's Cradle taught me to avoid giving undue recognition to granfalloons.
T.C. Boyle: Engrossing stories, well-drawn characters. Tortilla Curtain takes you
convincingly into the lives of two Mexican citizens struggling to live in the U.S.
Anne Tyler: Wonderful storyteller who creates lovably quirky characters. Her novel The Accidental Tourist was made into an oscar-winning film with the same name.
Thomas Mann: Engrossing stories layered with philosophical exploration. I favor The Magic Mountain and Death in Venice.
Tony Hillerman: Maybe because I lived on the Navajo Reservation for seven years, but: Good stories, complex protagonists, and an intriguing window into another culture.
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens): Probably no need to explain the appeal here. My favorite Twain novel is the lesser known, but entertaining and informative Life on the Mississippi.
Quibbles: I have also thoroughly enjoyed, and can recommend, excellent fiction by Chinua Achebe, Sherman Alexie, Rudolfo Anaya, Margaret Atwood, Albert Camus,
Willa Cather, Charles Dickens, Romain Gary, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Peter Hoeg,
Barbara Kingsolver, N. Scott Momaday, George Orwell, Robert Pease, Saki,
Leslie Marmon Silko, Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, and others, and I have
multiple copies of Alice in Wonderland (an obsession, perhaps?), but you have to
draw the line somewhere and the authors in the primary list above are the ones
whose books I have read the most.
BotNaught: Sherman Alexie, Rudolfo Anaya, Margaret Atwood, Romain Gary (Emile Ajar), Dashiell Hammett, Barbara Kingsolver, N. Scott Momaday, Dorothy Parker, Robert Pease, Saki, Leslie Marmon Silko, Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, Alison Weir Poetry:
Charles Wright: The poetry is descriptive of small events, delightful visual microworlds,
with language that flows smoothly. Gregory Corso: Perhaps the best of the "beat poets", with generally short, often comic works.
In a style that is philosophic but sometimes characterized as anarchic, his poems display a
strong awareness of the rhythmic and tonal patterns of language.
Denise Levertov: A creator of vivid image fragments seamlessly merged with emotional expression,
in clear and concise language.
Also excellent: her translations of the poet Eugene Guillevic (as well as the original French versions).
BotNaught: Margaret Atwood, Sherman Alexie, Saul Bellow, Lewis Carrol, Miguel de Cervantes, Peter Hoeg, Barbara Kingsolver, Willa Cather, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Lisa See, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, William Faulkner, George Orwell, Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, Erich Maria Remarque, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne