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Three or more living authors you view as great


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Initial post: Nov 23, 2008 4:39:13 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 25, 2009 1:54:04 PM PST
Gary McGreal says:
I'm always looking for new authors that aren't a waste of time. Here's a few I have found:

Jeanette Winterson"The Passion"
Haruki Murakami "Kafka at the Shore"
Thomas Pynchon "Gravity's Rainbow"
J. M. Coetze "The Life and Times of Michael K."
Paul Auster "The New York Trilogy"
Penelope Lively "Moon Tiger"
Margaret Atwood "The Blind Assasin"
Ann Patchett "Bel Canto"
Joy Williams "The Quick and the Dead"

What are your favorite living authors?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2008 12:34:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 24, 2008 12:36:01 AM PST
Vonne says:
Hi Gary Mcgreal,
I thought your thread was interesting. When I stopped to consider who I might recommend, I kept realizing....no -dead, no -dead...I think that my list of "greats" is long but the members are, for the most part "with us only in their body of work." Kind of sad really. I am going to add two authors to your thread, and think about it some more.

Kay Ryan -She was named America's 16th Poet Laureate in 2008 and her poems are absolutely wonderful. I do not enjoy reading most contemporary poets, but her compact form, sense of humor, and poems that just get better and better the longer you consider them have added me to her fan base! She has several collections available. A few of them are:
Flamingo Watching - Poems by Kay Ryan
Elephant Rocks - Poems by Kay Ryan
Say Uncle - Kay Ryan

I read in many genres, but am always up for a good mystery. When I find an author whose writing is flawless and whose books explore another culture as part of the package, then I think I've gotten really fortunate! Sujata Massey was a reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun before spending several years teaching English in Japan. Her Rei SHimura mystery series is one of my favorite mystery reads!
Sujata Massey -The Salaryman's Wife
Zen Attitude
The Flower Master
The Floating Girl
The Bride's Kimono
The Samurai's Daughter
The Pearl Diver
The Typhoon Lover

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2008 6:20:48 AM PST
H. Ison says:
If you want my favorite, it's D. F. Whipple.

Amazon ties him with Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Melville and many living, best selling writers. Who else alive can say that? If you want an entertaining read and you can delve right into his authentic voicing, start with "Snooker Glen." If you want to read a novel that reads like poetry and are interested in the Wall Street meltdown theme, try his debut "Shadow Fields." The writing is glorious. Or try his new fantasy-romance, "Dasha." A professor at The George Washington University wrote a nice review of the latter on the book's detail page.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2008 10:45:09 AM PST
My favourite living author is Cormac McCarthy. In my opinion, he's writing on a different level to anybody else.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2008 11:19:53 AM PST
Gary McGreal says:
Good suggestion. McCarthys been on my "to read" list for a while. Do you have a favorite?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2008 11:36:30 AM PST
H. Ison says:
Cormac McCarthy's writing is polished and elegant, but I don't think he's treading in the upper echelon. He's an Oprah pick, which makes him visible, but I don't find in his books the life, humor, richness and edge that makes up a masterpiece. He's one of the better novelists out there and he checks off many of the standard boxes, though. In the literary genre he's easily one of the most popular.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2008 4:18:26 PM PST
Russell Banks - Continental Drift, Affliction, Rule of the Bone, etc.
John Irving - Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp, etc.
William T. Prince - The Legend of Sasquatch (ISBN: 0-7414-4844-0, www.thelegendofsasquatch.com)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2008 6:55:00 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2008 6:57:08 PM PST
I loved McCarthy's "The Crossing", only one of his novels I have read so far.

Other living authors - Philip Roth, "American Pastoral". (and many others that I have read through the years).

Marilynne Robinson, "Housekeeping", and "Gilead", and, on a completely different note, Jonathan Franzen "The Corrections".
The last left me a little dissappointed, but the first 4/5 of the book was absolutely dead-on funny.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2008 7:59:48 AM PST
T. Lisk says:
Before McCarthy became Oprah's fave, he wrote one of the most impressive novels I've read, "Blood Meridian". It ranks with Marquez.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2008 12:39:10 PM PST
Blood Meridian is one of my favorite of his as well and his best IMO.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is probably my favorite living author. I think 100 Years is his best, but he has so many other works that are on level with that, Autumn of the Patriarch being the most significant.

Haruki Murakami is another great modern writer - his novels have a way of pulling me in and not letting me put them down until I finish them. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is my favorites of his, simply because the breadth and scope of the novel is so huge and well realized.

I like Umberto Eco a lot also, although some of his novels are a little too esoteric for me. The Name of the Rose is absolutely brilliant though and works on so many different levels.

Margaret Atwood is another great modern writer. Her wit and passion in her books is exceptional and she really makes you empathize with her characters. The Handmaid's Tale and The Blind Assassin are my two favorites of hers.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2008 9:37:04 PM PST
John Crowley -- Little, Big; The Aegypt Cycle, Lord Byron's Novel...etc.

Thomas Pynchon

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I think Chris Adrian has the potential to be really great and he's one of my favorites at the moment.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2008 1:13:56 AM PST
shannonhills says:
Paul Theroux (Mosquito Coast, Blinding Light, etc.)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Love in the Time of Cholera and The General In His Labyrinth are my favorites, but One Hundred Years of Solitude is most famous)
Gregory Maguire (Wicked, Mirrror Mirror, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister)
Tom Stoppard (playwright -- Arcadia is my favorite)
Isabel Allende (House of the Spirits, Eva Luna)
Frank Conroy (Body and Soul and Stop-Time)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 12, 2008 12:23:55 PM PST
J. Rossano says:
Here's my great living 3:

Denis Johnson
Jose Saramango
Johnathan Lethem

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2008 6:09:12 PM PST
C. Wyatt says:
McCarthy made the Ophah list, sure, but being in the company of Falkner, Morrison, and Tolstoy isn't a bad place to land. There is an interesting, if overblown, discussion on Amazon about The Road that debates its merits. One author even argues that if you don't find it to be genius, you just don't have the capacity to appreciate it. Both sides of that argument are well represented. At any rate, the discussion is an interesting read.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 9, 2009 6:59:08 AM PST
D. Mira says:
William Bross' picks are almost the same I would have chosen. Garcia Marquez, Eco and Murakami top the list. Carloz Ruiz Safon (Spain) will get to be among the best too; I just finished "The Angel's Game" (very good) but I think "The Shadow of the Wind" (excelent) is his best novel yet.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 12, 2009 11:52:42 AM PST
DCB says:
Zoran Zivkovic - "Seven Touches of Music" - "Steps Through the Mist" - "Impossible Encounters"
Steven Millhauser - "Dangerous Laughter"
Jose Saramago - "All the Names"
Michael Chabon - "Yiddish Policemen's Union"

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2009 3:58:32 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 14, 2009 4:14:58 PM PST
Gary--I have read and loved most of the novels in your list. So I am with you here.

Check out Paul Auster's wife--Siri Hustvedt. Especially her novel entitled What I Loved. This is an author whose writing has beauty and balls. She is an unsung hero of literature. Flawless work.

Re: McCarthy. I have read every one of his novels and he is one of my favorite authors, or was, until he sold out to the whole Oprah thing. Moreover, The Road is not his best--it is his most accessible, and ironically, his most sentimental. But, for most of McCarthy--Oprah watchers need not apply. Blood Meridian is absolutely his best--Harold Bloom declares it one of the 5 best masterpieces of the 20th century. It is not the book to start with, though. It is very esoteric, for much of it. Start with Suttree or The Crossing. Or All the Pretty Horses.

And, I would bet my library that you would love The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. Epic, full of aphoristic humor, irony, indelible imagery and characters.

In the Woods, by Tana French
The Likeness, by Tana French
OK, I would bet my library twice over that you would love these novels. Tana French is my new favorite author. I have introduced her to five diverse literature-loving friends and they all agree. Read my reviews of her books. :) She blows me away. I am certain you will get lost in her prose. Yup, certain.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2009 11:11:09 AM PST
Hi Gary. I strongly recommend anything by Joyce Carol Oates, who is, by the way, currently alive and well.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2009 8:01:29 AM PST
word & image says:
I share a love of Coetze, Murakami & Auster. Here are some others:
Toni Morrison - Beloved
Amitav Ghosh - Hungry Tide
Ismail Kadare - Palace of Dreams
Kenzaburo Oe - Silent Cry
Jose Saramago - Blindness, The Double
Gregory Maguire - Wicked
Edward P. Jones - Known World
Michael Frayn - Copenhagen
Per Petterson - Out Stealing Horses
for kids: Philip Pullman, Cornelia Funke
poets: Adrienne Rich, Sharon Olds, W.S. Merwin, Frantz Wright
Writers who understand that we live in a sea of politics and history, & some of whom combine the real and the imagined.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2009 2:21:15 PM PST
Goodness I forgot Millhauser! Each time I come back to one of his books, I realize how much of a genius he really is. Spectacular style, fantastic obsessions, just great execution every time. Even his missteps are wonderful.

I do like Chabon a lot, as well. And let's put in a word for Eugenides, though he's only written two things (in book format).

Posted on Feb 16, 2009 8:22:56 AM PST
I would add Andrei Makine to the list. Dreams of My Russian Summers is one of the best books I have read in the past 10 years

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 12:37:09 PM PST
JBM says:
Harper Lee (only one, but what a beaut!)
Clyde Edgerton (Walking Across Egypt, espec.)
Pat Conroy (loved his earlier works, not so much the recent ones)
Okay, you can see I'm partial to Southern writers...
but also Californians: Amy Tan, Lisa See, Janet Fitch, Ray Bradbury.
And from elsewhere: Toni Morrison (loved "a mercy"), John Irving, Paul Theroux, Michael Chabon, Joyce Carol Oates...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 25, 2009 11:36:49 AM PST
Right up there for me are:

Toni Morrison - Beloved
Kazuo Ishiguro - The Remains of the Day
Alice Munro -- EVERYTHING
Jhumpa Lahiri -- Interpreter of Maladies
Paul Auster - Book of Illusions
Francine Prose - Guided Tours of Hell
Elizabeth Strout - Olive Kittridge
Wallace Stegner - Crossing Into Safety

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 12:29:37 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 25, 2009 12:31:43 PM PST
in addition to margaret atwood and alice munro, i would suggest:
david mitchell -- Cloud Atlas, Black Swan Green
william trevor -- all of his short stories, as well as Two Lives, Fools of Fortune
mario vargas Llosa -- War of the End of the World, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter
the incomparable zadie smith -- White Teeth, On Beauty

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 10:58:01 AM PST
Ellen Blake says:
JAMES LEE BURKE

JIM HARRISON

JAMES HILLMAN
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