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Who are your favorite literary authors of the last 25 years?

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Having been somewhat out of touch with the literary scene since the birth of my first child 24 years ago and finding that i now have a certain amount of time to read,I am looking to broaden my sweep and was wondering if you folks could help me out with your dozen or so favorite literary authors of the past 25 years, as well as your favorite book by them. I'm not averse to genre fiction, provided it tackles some of the bigger questions in life and does it with some wit. My Americentric list looks like this;

DF Wallace-Infinite Jest

Johnathan Lethem-Chronic City

Salman Rushdie-Midnight's Children

TC Boyle-Drop city

Michael Chabon-The amazing adventures of Cavalier and Clay

Jeffrey Eugenides-The Marriage Plot

Johnathan Franzen-Freedom

Barbara Kingsolver-Flight Behavior

Chuck Palahniuk-Invisible Monsters

Neal Stephenson-Snowcrash

Haruki Murikami-a wild sheep chase

 

I would also include the next 3 because they are still writing, they are all great, and I've never actually met anyone else who has read them;

 

Jim Harrison- The Road Home

Thomas McGuane- Nothing but blue skies

Mordecai Richler-Barney's Version

 

Thanks in advance for all of your help!

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Thank you for an interesting thread ND.   I certainly  need more introduction to recent American authors, especially now they are about to invade the Mann Booker Prize. ;)

My reading favourites do tend to genre, or else well below your time limit, so I'll have to think awhile before answering but I'm sure many others here will be able to oblige.

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I have read one by Mordecai Richler - Solomon Gursky Was Here - but it was a long time ago (1991), so I don't remember anything about it.

Except that I voted it as second-best of that year's selection from my postal book group.

 

I will have a think about the question in the OP, but it may take a while to whittle it down to a dozen, especially as my tastes have changed in 25 years.

 You don't mean just UK writers, do you? My list would probably also contain Canadian and Australian writers.

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I have read one by Mordecai Richler - Solomon Gursky Was Here - but it was a long time ago (1991), so I don't remember anything about it.

Except that I voted it as second-best of that year's selection from my postal book group.

 You don't mean just UK writers, do you? My list would probably also contain Canadian and Australian writers.

Thanks Megustaleer! I am really hoping for authors from every country! I'm so out of touch that I had to think hard to come up with those 11, although a few more have since occurred to me. If I was answering this in 1990 I'd have had a hard time naming less than 25 authors that I thought were 'must read'. Don't knock anyone really good off your list! A dozen was a pretty arbitrary number.

'Solomon Gursky' is actually my favorite Richler because of its scope. I just couldn't remember whether it was more than 25 years old :)

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'Solomon Gursky' is actually my favorite Richler because of its scope. I just couldn't remember whether it was more than 25 years old :)

I think it was published in 1981, so yes.

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I spent the evening going through my reading lists back to 1992 to refresh my memory of authors and books that might qualify for this thread. After pruning the first 'longlist' I ended up with about fifteen - and then accidentally deleted the lot before I managed to copy & paste them into the thread.

Now it will have to wait until after my holiday. :sorry:

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Not quite a dozen and some of these authors have been going for longer than 25 years but they have published in that time. Or in the case of Jansson re-published after her death.

 

Margaret Atwood - Oryx & Crake

E. L. Doctorow - Loon Lake

Tove Jansson - Summer Book

Haruki Murakami - Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas

Ben Okri - Famished Road

Annie Proulx - Shipping News

Vikram Seth - A Suitable Boy

William Boyd - Any Human Heart

C. J. Sansom - Winter in Madrid

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I'm having some difficulty coming up with a list, so this might be a little piecemeal. 25 years is rather arbitrary, and are we talking novels published since 1988 or novelists whose first book was published after 1988?

 

Several of my favourite names have been mentioned already - Haruki Murakami, Jonathan Franzen, Jeffrey Eugenides and Michael Chabon, to name four. TC Boyle, Jonathan Lethem, Neal Stephenson, David Mitchell, Vikram Seth, Margaret Atwood and Chuck Palahniuk have had their moments but I haven't ready anything by these writers that would reach the top of the pile.

 

Novels I might add to the list are:

 

Zadie Smith - White Teeth

Donna Tartt - The Secret History

Jonathan Coe - What A Carve Up! (think this has another title in the USA, but not sure what it is) 

AM Homes - May We Be Forgiven

Damon Galgut - anything

Sarah Waters - Fingersmith

Michel Faber - The Crimson Petal and the White

Lionel Shriver - We Need to Talk about Kevin

JM Coetzee - Disgrace

Raymond Carver - short stories

George Saunders - short stories

Cormac McCarthy - The Border Trilogy, The Road and No Country for Old Men

China Mieville - anything

James Ellroy - The LA Quartet or the American Tabloid trilogy

Nick Hornby - High Fidelity

Ian McEwan - anything. Enduring Love is my favourite although many plump for Atonement

Ann Patchett - Bel Canto

Jonathan Safran Foer - Everything is Illuminated

Peter Carey - Oscar and Lucinda

John Lanchester - The Debt to Pleasure

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I feel constricted by the specification of 'literary' authors.

Me too.  I can only echo some of the comments that have already been made and add votes for Vikram Seth, Ian McEwan and Sarah Waters.  Or "what Grammath said".

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I'm having some difficulty coming up with a list, so this might be a little piecemeal. 25 years is rather arbitrary, and are we talking novels published since 1988 or novelists whose first book was published after 1988?

I agree 25 years is rather arbitrary. That just how long I've been out of the loop. And since a lot of these authors are not folks I'm familiar with I hope nobody worries too much about precise dates.I just want to learn new authors and hopefully help others do the same.

 

I feel constricted by the specification of 'literary' authors.

I'm interested in anything which transcends the bounds of popular or genre fiction, like Douglas Adams did for sci-fi, or Heinlein's 'Stranger in a strange land'. Or what Trevanian did for spy novels,(Shibumi), Romance/thrillers (Summer of Katya) or westerns (Incident at 20 mile). Great writing is what rings my bell, and great writing, preferably with some wit and humor, is what I mean by literary. Heck, I like Carl Hiassen, Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore and Anne Rice, and none of them are serious literature. I just love great writing and interesting, compelling characters, and some attempt to shine light on life, society and the human condition.

 

And BTW- Thanks everyone for some really great suggestions. I just bought (for a dollar! How could I go wrong) "Shipping News" based on Tay's recommendation and am about to update the wish list I use when entering thrift and used book stores.This is really helpful and exciting for me. Thank you all!

Edited by Nelsondaniel1960

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Here's my list, unconstricted by any connotations of "literary", but not all light weight :)

 

Robert Harris – Imperium, Lustrum ( Conspirata  in US), Pompeii

Tim Winton – Cloudstreet

Andrew Nicoll – The Good Mayor

Susanna Clarke - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel

Ben Aaronovitch - Rivers of London series

Neal Stephenson – Quicksilver

John Scalzi – Redshirts, Fuzzy Nation

Christopher Fowler  - Bryant and May detective series

Ruth Dudley Edwards – Corridors of Death, Murdering Americans, any of her  fiction

Bryce Courtenay - The Potato Factory, Tommo and Hawk, Solomon's Song - Trilogy

 

ETA

Edited by grasshopper

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Lots of my favourites already mentioned. Adding:

 

Colm Toibin, all of them but especially The Master

Philip Roth, American Pastoral, the Prague Orgy

Hilary Mantel, those books already mentioned and add Eight Months On Gazzah Street

Edward St Aubyn, Some Hope Trilogy

Ishiguro, most of them

Jennifer Egan, A Visit From the Goon Squad

Tobias Wolff This Boy's Life

Will Self Umbrella

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Might mention some from elsewhere:

 

Sergey Lukianenko: esp. The Watchers (five volumes)

Borut Pahor (100 years and kicking)

Doris Lessing (still busy)

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Ian McEwan - anything. Enduring Love is my favourite although many plump for Atonement

 

Including me, though I'm a great fan of Enduring Love too.  I don't think its achievement is as high as Atonement, though.  I'm not sure I'd say 'anything', though, since people might be inclined to try Amsterdam since it won the Booker, but it's a very disappointing novel.

 

Don't think anyone's mentioned Martin Amis yet.  Lots of possibilities, but if you're looking for books which push at the boundaries, ND, you might want to try Time's Arrow, which is an incredibly innovative book, telling a story backwards and in so doing devising an entirely new way to deliver satire.

 

Another book I loved which I admired for its inventiveness - very much so on the linguistic front - is Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things.

 

There's also Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor and Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong.

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Well so far I've acquired these books from your suggestions;

Colm Toibin-Brooklyn

Anne Tyler-Patchwork Planet

Arunhati Roy- Atlas of impossible longing

Ian McEwan- Atonement, Amsterdam

Bryce Courtenay- Power of One

Vikram Seth- Golden Gate

Cormac McCarthy - All the pretty horses,The Road and No Country for Old Men

Nick Hornby-About a boy

Johnathan Coe-Closed circle

 

This is so great!

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Some of those books are my favorites, although A Suitable Boy is my favorite by Seth.  I just always hesitate to press too hard on a book that is that long.

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Don't see a list from you Binker. Did they already name all your faves? Care to mention anyone else that's really good but not great?

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I keep thinking about doing a list and then my brain goes into mental overload and I can't get a list down.  It would probably go on forever.  So then I decided to look at my BGO lists, only to remember that we lost my 2011 list in the Great Disappearance and that was a very good year.  But I will try to come up with a list at some point.

 

No non-fiction, right?  Because I have some favorite non-fiction, too.

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I feel constricted by the specification of 'literary' authors.

And me!  So I looked it up and discovered that "literary fiction" is also known as "mainstream fiction."  And "mainstream fiction" is anything that sells well.  So... have you tried Helen Fielding, David Walliams or Jeff Kinney?

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I did read 'Bridget Jones' a long time ago and thought it was well done for what it was, but not really my cuppa tea. Everything I've seen by Walliams and Kinney were kids books and they didn't interest me,although if my kids were still young I'd have definitely read 'Wimpy Kid' to them.

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Here are some of my favourite writers, not listed by previous posters, along with a title or two for each that  I have particularly enjoyed (sometimes it was very hard to pick just two)

Many of these writers had books published  more than 25years ago, but have written their most well-known books since then.
Nationality has mostly been gleaned from the Fantastic Fiction website, but there are a couple of  queries: Jhumpa Lahiri is listed as American, but was born in London, and was shortlisted for this year’s Booker Prize, which wasn’t open to American authors; Michael Ondaatje is generally considered Canadian, but Fantastic Fiction lists him as Sri Lankan.
 
Jhumpa Lahiri (London-born/American)  Interpreter of Maladies - short story collection (1999)  The Namesake (2003)  

David Malouf (Australian) Remembering Babylon (1993) Conversations at Curlow Creek (1996)

Rohinton Mistry (Indian) A Fine Balance (1995) Family Matters (2002)

 

Jon McGregor  (Britsh) If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (2002)

 

Michael Ondaatje (Sri Lankan/Canadian) The English Patient (1994)

 

Jane Rogers  (British) Mr Wroe’s Virgins (1991) Promised Lands (1996)

 

Rose Tremain (British) Sacred Country (1992) The Colour  (2003)

 

Kate Grenville (Australian) Secret River (2005)  The Lieutenant (2007)

 

Harry Thompson (British) This Thing Of Darkness (2005)

 

John Banville (Irish) The Book Of Evidence (1989)  The Untouchable (1997)

 

Jill Dawson (British) Fred & Edie (2000)  The Great Lover (2009)

 

edited to add:

Ann Michaels (Canadian) Fugitive Pieces (1996)

 

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I had missed her! But thanks to a recco on this thread I have now had the glorious pleasure of reading Bel Canto and am keeping eyes peeled for more of her work

Edited by Dan

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