I like Kazuo Ishiguro. What other contemporary novelists/novels should I read?
January 4, 2013 10:07 PM Subscribe
My taste in novels has generally tended towards the classics but lately I feel like reading some good contemporary fiction. Please recommend some recent-ish books that are well-written and well-crafted, have emotional depth and deal with human relationships in insightful and moving ways. Kazuo Ishiguro is an example of the kind of writer I'm looking for.
posted by zeri to Writing & Language (24 answers total) 75 users marked this as a favorite
Things I want in a book:
- Character-driven stories about complex people with complex emotions and their relationships with other such people
- A crisp, precise narrative voice which has an ear for rhythm and cadence but which is not verbose or pretentious
- First-person or tight third-person narration
- Mastery of novelistic craft: thoughtful structure, believable dialogue, etc.
- Preferably short, 200-300 pages
Things I don't want:
- A style that calls attention to itself. No preciosity, verbal pyrotechnics, modernist affectations like pages-long sentences and lack of paragraph breaks, etc.
- Present-tense narration. I'm allergic to this.
- Choppy narrative where you get lots of short scenes written in short, punchy paragraphs without setting or scene transitions. I like to be able to sink into a story.
- Direct descriptions of extreme violence, especially violence towards children or sexual violence.
- Magic realism or surrealism.
- Stories that are relentlessly dark or bleak. I'm not looking for "uplifting" books or ones that avoid suffering, I just don't like to put down a book feeling depressed.
Other than Ishiguro, some writers I've liked are Patrick O'Brian (no longer contemporary, alas) and A. S. Byatt (though she's a bit wordy for my taste). I tend to like British authors more than American ones.
If you could briefly describe whatever author/book you're recommending or explain why you're recommending them, that would be much appreciated.