Kindle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some of the best writers aren't writing any more for the obvious reason. Some of the recently deceased writers are very much superior to most of the current bestsellers. This thread is to remember them, and to recommend their books.

Some writers are just vivid, and scenes remain with you forever. There's a passage in Richard Condon's An Infinity of Mirrors where the Jewish main character and her German General husband, having lost a child to the camps, puts the man who did it on a train bound for the camps. Condon is good at irony. There's another passage, in a book about the creation of Prohibition for profit, perhaps the book is called Mile High (years since I read it). where the protagonist eats a roll with a workman and decides to murder hims so he can have the unmet wife who makes a roll with such care for her beloved; we know before we meet her that she could never love such a coldly calculating man. I could go on about striking passages in Richard Condon's books. He's an exemplary writer.

But which writers do you think should be remembered, and why?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
348 Posts
I'm a big fan of Robert Cormier, who died in 2000. He, along with a few others, transformed young adult fiction into the subgenre it has become. Right now, he's in no imminent danger of being forgotten--his novels The Chocolate War and I Am the Cheese remain popular in middle school classrooms across America.

But I sense that he is getting squeezed out with the explosion of new literature for young adults. And for reasons I don't know, his books aren't available for eReader.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
708 Posts
Edith Wharton, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature with her 1920 novel, The Age of Innocence, one of the most haunting love stories I have ever read. Her absences of happy endings told the other side of love: wistful affairs of the heart that rarely culminated in the realization of dreams. Her books were not romantic escape for those seeking to escape the drudgery of everyday life: they were the voice narrating the unfulfilled longing for all those who have loved and lost.

M. M. Kaye, who could keep you turning the pages with a who-dunit or whisk you to far away lands with The Far Pavilions and Shadow of the Moon. A British army wife who resolved to banish her boredom by placing a mystery in every land her husband was stationed in, she succeeded in entertaining countless readers that transported them back to the time of the Raj through her painstaking research and colorful characters.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Amazing how quality literature can fall off the radar... I'm not likely to forget Edith Wharton, but I did a double-take on M M Kaye, whose Far Pavilions entranced me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,086 Posts
Douglas Adams.  He died too soon.  He was still producing good work, and I wish he could have produced more Dirk Gently books before he went.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
460 Posts
Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison are two that spring to mind.  There are quite a few classic SciFi authors that shouldn't be overlooked like Theodore Sturgeon and Roger Zelazny.

I'm a huge fan of PI novels and Jonathan Valin is an author who just stopped writing a few years ago.  I miss his Harry Stoner series.

--
R.J. Spears 
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
rjspears said:
I'm a huge fan of PI novels and Jonathan Valin is an author who just stopped writing a few years ago. I miss his Harry Stoner series.
Not dead, not stopped writing, not quite of this thread, but since you're a fan of PI novels, have you read Peter Temple's books about the Melbourne lawyer/investigator Jack Irish? Temple is a superior novelist (his novel Truth was my book of the year recently) and some of us are willing to make a case that Irish is his finest creation, though he's so good, with so many fine things in his books, it's a close-run thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
bordercollielady said:
I would suggest Stieg Larsson.. such an amazing talent and a life that was cut short too soon.
Larsson is more than adequately remembered, including in a booklength bioliterary critique by Andrew McCoy and me that you can find in my signature, and all kinds of hagiography by his friends and live-in companion. I was thinking more of good writers that we don't hear so much about now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
614 Posts
R. J.,

Harlan Ellison's still here and still working and still publishing. I don't think he's as well known outside f&sf circles as he should be, but he's still here.

I'll second Sturgeon and Zelazny and Bradbury enthusiastically (though I don't think there's much chance Bradbury will be forgotten any time soon) and I'll throw in a few more names: Fritz Leiber (if you've not read Night's Black Agents you're cheating yourself, and the same goes for a lot of his other work), Gerald Kersh, Don Robertson (in particular his novel Mystical Union), Evan Hunter (as Evan Hunter & not Ed McBain -- see Hunter's novels Sons, Far from the Sea, Last Summer, and Love, Dad), Fredric Brown, Thomas Williams. Terrific storytellers all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,133 Posts
Richard Powell, Robert Lewis Taylor and Walker Percy. I'm perpetually amazed that more people haven't read their books. Powell's Don Quixote USA is arguably one of the most unique and humorous American novels to be written post-Twain. I consider him to be the Wodehouse west of the Atlantic. Taylor's Journey to Matecumbe is a stunning book on many different levels: humor, travelogue, social commentary, character portrayals, plotting. He won the Pulitzer for Jamie McPheeters, but I'll go to the grave adamant in my belief that that's an inferior book to Matecumbe. Percy...maybe he's always been camouflaged by the shadow of Flannery O'Connor. I don't know. His books, other than the Thanatos Syndrome (still not sure what I think about that story) are works of art. I'd recommend The Second Coming if you're interested.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Tony Rabig said:
R. J.,

Harlan Ellison's still here and still working and still publishing. I don't think he's as well known outside f&sf circles as he should be, but he's still here.

I'll second Sturgeon and Zelazny and Bradbury enthusiastically (though I don't think there's much chance Bradbury will be forgotten any time soon) and I'll throw in a few more names: Fritz Leiber (if you've not read Night's Black Agents you're cheating yourself, and the same goes for a lot of his other work), Gerald Kersh, Don Robertson (in particular his novel Mystical Union), Evan Hunter (as Evan Hunter & not Ed McBain -- see Hunter's novels Sons, Far from the Sea, Last Summer, and Love, Dad), Fredric Brown, Thomas Williams. Terrific storytellers all.
Second Gerald Kersh, a marvellous writer. It think it was a scene from one of his books, of which I can't find the title, in my mind the other morning when I rose, because I'd been designing a pocket paintbox made with sheets of copper. The scene is between an itinerant chess player and a well-off American. The American writes on rice paper which he keeps between two ultrathin hinged silver plates in his pocket. The chess player in a single sentence, "You with your Longines watch and...", conjures up a whole world of privilege and his envy of what he'll never have. The image is vivid. Anyone remember which book it was in?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
836 Posts
I vote Steinbeck. John Steinbeck is still a big name, but I don't know whether they are still teaching his stuff in high schools. They should tho. I read pretty much everything he wrote when I was in high school. Love him still.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,133 Posts
Steinbeck! Can I tell my Steinbeck story? I think Andre has already heard this...

First, though, I like Steinbeck a lot. Great writer. Sweet Thursday and Cannery Row are probably my two favorites.

My family has been farming in the Salinas Valley for almost a hundred years. Back when my grandfather was farming, it was a very small community. Everyone knew everyone. He was a fairly typical farmer: hardworking, hardheaded businessman, etc. My grandmother was a lovely lady, rather a socialite. Anyway, he'd come home from a long day's work and find Steinbeck at the dinner table. He detested the man, which was a pretty typical attitude in the Salinas business community due to Steinbeck's outspoken views on labor and politics. My grandfather dealt with the situation by simply pretending he wasn't there. This happened quite a few times. Rather passive-aggressive, I suppose.

Voila. A tiny Steinbeck story.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Christopher Bunn said:
Steinbeck! Can I tell my Steinbeck story? I think Andre has already heard this...
That's a super story, so typical of farmers everywhere, including those in my family.

Ha! I was going to say yesterday when we were discussing Orwell in another thread, that I shared a publisher with him, albeit a generation after his death, and knew Sonia Blair, his widow, the model for Julia in 1984, in her later years, but I scratched it as I just knew someone would come along with a better story. Superb one-upmanship, Christopher!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
614 Posts
Andre,

I'm afraid I don't place that particular Kersh scene (thought it might be from I Got References--not sure, though), but if I run across it, I'll post the reference here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Tony Rabig said:
Andre,
I'm afraid I don't place that particular Kersh scene (thought it might be from I Got References--not sure, though), but if I run across it, I'll post the reference here.
Thanks all the same for even thinking about such a vague reference, Tony.

Another writer who could be resurrected with pleasure is Eric Ambler. He had a marvellous touch with that seedy prewar Balkan intrigues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
614 Posts
Haven't read much Ambler -- I think only A Coffin for Dimitrios, which was a terrific read.

Open Road Media has been bringing out a lot of terrific material by writers who should be remembered, among them Malcolm Lowry, Budd Schulberg, Barbara Pym, Stanley Elkin, and (later this month) Irwin Shaw. Otto Penzler's Mysteriouspress.com (working with Open Road) has brought out quite a few titles by Donald Westlake, Brian Garfield, James M. Cain and others.

Now if only they'd get together and reissue the complete works of Stanley Ellin... Ellin was a terrific mystery and suspense writer. If memory serves, his short stories have been compared with those of Poe, Shirley Jackson, and Roald Dahl; you'll find all but his last five or six in The Specialty of the House: The Complete Mystery Tales 1948-1978. His novels include The Eighth Circle, The Valentine Estate (which opens with one of the best narrative hooks ever), and a chiller on racial themes called The Dark Fantastic. Ellin's work deserves ebook revival if any suspense writer's does.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,133 Posts
Andre Jute said:
That's a super story, so typical of farmers everywhere, including those in my family.

Ha! I was going to say yesterday when we were discussing Orwell in another thread, that I shared a publisher with him, albeit a generation after his death, and knew Sonia Blair, his widow, the model for Julia in 1984, in her later years, but I scratched it as I just knew someone would come along with a better story. Superb one-upmanship, Christopher!
Well, I'm not sure, but I think you one-upped me. Orwell's widow? Now that would be someone to have dinner with...
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top