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Customer Discussions > Literature forum

Looking for books with beautiful prose

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Showing 1-25 of 63 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 27, 2009 9:33:20 PM PDT
Pete D. says:
Can anyone recommend some books with really elegant writing? I'm looking for writing that could be described as lyrical or poetic. Essays, short stories, any genre, though I guess I'd prefer more modern works to the classics.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2009 3:11:33 PM PDT
novelistia says:
Ulysses, by James Joyce
The Waves, by Virginia Woolf
100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Claiming Kin, by Laura Marello
The Sound and the Fury, by WIlliam Faulkner

Posted on Oct 8, 2009 11:52:02 AM PDT
KOMET says:
For poetical, elegant prose, I recommend...

THE MISTRESS OF SPICES - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Posted on Oct 9, 2009 9:29:31 AM PDT
lxm16 says:
E. B. White, Patrick O'Brien, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Posted on Oct 12, 2009 6:54:36 PM PDT
Old School by Tobias Wolff

Posted on Oct 13, 2009 7:26:11 AM PDT
Luci Weston says:
Try "Atlas Shrugged," by Ayn Rand. The quality of her writing combined with the topic make for an amazing read. Also, you might like, "The Life of Pi," by Yann Martel, it is beautifully written and quite an adventure...give it a chance, the story takes off after the first one hundred pages.

Posted on Oct 19, 2009 12:07:56 PM PDT
Jody says:
Beach Music or Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy--actually anything by Pat Conroy. Beautiful, lyrical prose.

Posted on Oct 19, 2009 12:35:52 PM PDT
Ken Bruen. His works are on the dark side, but lyrical--yes. Beautifully written in a haunting way.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2009 1:54:48 PM PDT
Just finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Wonderful prose. Actually, anything by him is a treat.

Posted on Oct 21, 2009 4:43:45 AM PDT
Ride This Day Down Into Night

RIDE THIS DAY DOWN INTO NIGHT is a story about love, murder, deception, innocence, father/son relationships, abuse, marriage, new beginnings, but mostly it is about love. Told from the point of view of Tim Rich, a twenty-seven-year old English teacher who is married and expecting a child, he tells about a life outwardly seamless in its perfection and happiness which spirals out of control when he is obligated to home-school Olivia Buford. Olivia's father has been accused of the violent and gruesome murder of Connie Stafio a prominent, church-going denizen of the community. A coarse yet completely enchanting young woman, Olivia captivates Tim. Despite his conscious attempts to evade Olivia Buford, Tim drifts deeper and deeper into Olivia's hardened world. Set in the town of Califon, once a dairy-farm community but now an affluent `burb, Olivia Buford comes from a rough and dangerous family who has lived in Califon for generations long before the mostly wealthy invade this beautiful and rural part of west-central New Jersey.
As Tim observes, "If Billy-the-Kid or Al Capone had lived in Califon, they would've been careful if they'd walked by a Buford." But for all Olivia's dangerous background and inescapable reputation as a 'Buford' she is a seductive, beautiful, smart and tender young woman. Her insightful views on the literature Tim Rich is obliged to teach her at her modest house and her enthralling sexual allure makes him gradually attracted to her while his wife, the closer she comes to term in her pregnancy, is more distant and silent. Tim is torn between the expectations his father has always demanded through love and devotion of him and the way he conducts his life and his inextricable desire for Olivia Buford. Ultimately Tim brings to fruition his desire for Olivia in a poignant and arousing account, but once Tim and Olivia become lovers, she confesses she is the one who murdered Connie Stafio.
After the birth of his daughter, the moral decisions Tim confronts form a schism in his life that lead him to Blue Hill, Maine. Amid the placid Maine life, Tim tries rousing himself out of the moral quandary in which he's found himself. To that end Tim does seem to be working through his life's social demands and obligations when Olivia resurfaces and further confounds Tim's conflicted nature.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2009 12:14:44 PM PDT
Elise says:
Peachtree Road by Anne Rivers Siddons

Posted on Oct 21, 2009 12:57:52 PM PDT
If you can find copies try two novels by J. R. Salamanca "The Lost Country" and/or "Lilith".

Posted on Oct 22, 2009 5:58:10 PM PDT
Jimmy James says:
First Essays (1841) by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The short stories of Charles Bukowski...

Posted on Oct 22, 2009 8:59:33 PM PDT
innerpattern says:
Anything by Goethe or Hesse

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2009 3:07:43 PM PDT
stonycal says:
"Disgrace" by J.M. Coetzee--grim subject, fabulous writing.
Jim Crace's "Quarantine"--not fancy language but somehow manages to be glorious

Posted on Oct 23, 2009 6:25:48 PM PDT
D. Mcclay says:
"A pigrim at Tinker Creek", by Annie Dillard

Posted on Oct 27, 2009 6:42:53 AM PDT
Interesting choices here - agree with "Beach Music", Pat Conroy writes beautifully....'Life of Pi" has moments of brilliance, just thought the subject matter a bit too fantasified for me. An unhungry, pacified tiger stranded in a boat in the ocean with a boy is akin to Harry Potter's characters flying around on broomsticks.

Try "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts - it has gems of prose so profound that there are entire website dedicated to them : a couple of prime examples are:

Nothing in any life, no matter how well or poorly lived, is wiser than failure or clearer than sorrow. And in the tiny precious wisdom they give to us, even those dreaded and hated enemies, suffering and failure, have their reason and their right to be.

One of the reasons why we crave love and seek it so desperately is that love is the only cure for loneliness, shame and sorrow. But some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths about yourself are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. And some things are just so sad that only your soul can do the crying for you.

Truth is a bully that we all pretend to like . . .

They don't come better than that.


Posted on Oct 28, 2009 7:57:55 AM PDT
mmillerh says:
"The Enchantress of Florence" by Salman Rushdie has some beautiful prose. It's like eating cheesecake...

Posted on Oct 28, 2009 10:22:04 PM PDT
'Lolita' by Vladimir Nabokov. Most of his novels are fantastic but Lolita is probably the most accessible to those who haven't read his other works. If you enjoy it then move on to 'Pale Fire' and 'Ada, or Ardor: A family chronicle'. The latter novel is much more difficult.

Posted on Oct 29, 2009 2:33:08 PM PDT
Sebastian--I like the Darkbloom--I couldn't agree with you more. I think LOLITA is one of the ten best novels of the twentieth century. Nabokov intended to have a man commit one of the most perverse acts and then, through language, persuade the reader to sympathize with him. And he did it! What a beautifully crafted novel. Having said that, John, Sconomigliano from Kensington likened my book to Lolita! Ride This Day Down Into Night. I would never suggest I have the talent of Nabokov, but it was a nice compliment. Ada is wonderful.

Posted on Dec 21, 2009 12:58:04 PM PST
howboy says:
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin.

Posted on Dec 21, 2009 1:24:59 PM PST
"Beginner's Greek" by James Collins is a recent comic-romantic novel filled with lovely sentences, beautifully shaped paragraphs and delightful digressions.

"The Dyer's Hand" by the English Poet W. H. Auden is the best written collection of literary essays I've ever read.

"At Swim Two Boys" by Jamie O'Neill is a stunning stretch of sustained exquisite prose.

"Please Don't Remain Calm" by Michael Kinsley is a stiff yet sophisticated cocktail of sharp, witty, disciplined political opinion pieces.

Now I'm going to go out on a limb a little bit and recommend three novels in verse: "The Autobiography of Red" by Anne Carson, "Freddy Neptune" by Les Murray and "The Golden Gate" by Vikram Seth. You asked for prose that is "lyrical" and "poetic": you might as well go all the way and see what happens.

Posted on Dec 24, 2009 12:36:24 PM PST
Agree with Patrick O'Brian. Also, check out Solveig Eggerz' The Seal Woman.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2010 4:34:17 PM PST
Eventstaff says:
Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays
Kate Braverman's Lithium for Medea
Thomas McGuane's Panama
J.P. Donleavy's The Ginger Man
Gilbert Sorrentino's Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things

Posted on Jan 21, 2010 5:51:04 PM PST
To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf.
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Discussion in:  Literature forum
Participants:  57
Total posts:  63
Initial post:  Sep 27, 2009
Latest post:  Nov 17, 2014

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