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This is one of the most powerful books I've ever read. The prose is achingly precise and evocative; much of the self-revelation heartbreaking. I can't wait to read his poetry. Lane is a Canadian treasure.
American authors of Irving's generation made strong and early impressions on me. From Garp to Owen Meany, I'm a sucker for the delicious mysticism of his stories, the way they ping off the walls of our reality to lend it greater clarity. Yet to me, In One Person is one of his more grounded works. Perhaps its the weight of the plot's eventual backdrop, the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Whatever. I couldn't put the book down.
I don't know poetry as well as I should, partly because so little of it is as good as Billy Collins'. Sailing Alone Around the Room was a gift from a good friend a few years back. I was smitten from the first poem. When I read his stuff I feel as though he's looking through my eyes and finally telling me what I'm seeing. I still keep the book close. The man just knows.
I'm one of those freaks who can claim to have read Gravity's Rainbow cover to cover. It still ranks as one of my greatest feats. Took me eight months in my early twenties. Ever tried it? Start with this breezy little noir detective tidbit instead. It's an easy read, lovingly reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson. Then tackle The Crying of Lot 49, then V, then GR. Talk to you in 10 years.
I'm a great admirer of Stephen King. I don't like everything he's written, but sometimes a King novel is just what the doctor ordered. I recently bounced back and forth between Joyland and Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet. There's a compare-and-contrast exercise for you. By the way, every aspiring writer should read King's On Writing. Brilliant.
My friend John Phillips gave me this astounding little book. Knight's spartan writing reminded me of Isaac Bashevis Singer. The Typist is a great little story beautifully written. Compact. Compelling. And nary a wasted word.
Gardner was among a number of American authors I inhaled in my late teens and twenties: Irving, Pynchon, Barth, Styron. Jesus, Sophie's Choice. I'd as much as forgotten that gem. Anyway, I reread The Sunlight Dialogues recently and was whisked back to the mid-70s and the many Gardner works I adored: Grendel, Mickelsson's Ghosts, Nickel Mountain. Still fresh.