Who else writes like Proust and Faulkner?
April 16, 2012 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Proust's In Search of Lost Time and Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom seem to me to share deep artistic affinities: heavy reliance on often hallucinogenically long sentences, innovative and almost esoteric metaphor, and an almost mythical mode of storytelling. They both violate the show-not-tell rule like crazy as they give off reams of psychological and sociological opinion. What else is in this literary vein?
posted by shivohum to Writing & Language (16 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
James Joyce's Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake come to mind.
posted by dfriedman at 4:53 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tale of Genji (except maybe the metaphor part), as translated by Waley or Tyler. (Not Seidensticker, if it's long convoluted sentences you're after).
posted by No-sword at 5:11 PM on April 16, 2012

Harold Brodkey's Stories in an Almost Classical Mode and - even more so, but less rewardingly - The Runaway Soul.
posted by Trurl at 5:29 PM on April 16, 2012

The Autumn of the Patriarch.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 5:29 PM on April 16, 2012

Best answer: Moby-Dick

Hallucinogentically long sentences? How about these....
That intangible malignity which has been from the beginning; to whose dominion even the modern Christians ascribe one-half of the worlds; which the ancient Ophites of the east reverenced in their statue devil; -- Ahab did not fall down and worship it like them; but deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred white whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it. All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick.

Innovative and esoteric metaphor? My god. It was written in America in the mid-19th century and it's about a crazed megalomaniac who is trying to hunt to its death a monster whale in a doomed mission of vengeance. The whole thing is metaphor. What, exactly, do you think Queequeg signifies? There's an innovative and esoteric metaphor for you.

Mythical mode of storytelling? It has practically passed into the realm of myth itself!

Violates the show-not-tell rule? Reams of opinion? Chapters 55-57 are spent entirely on extended analyses of cultural depictions of whales. Really. And they are not particularly unusual for it.

You're looking for Moby-Dick.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:04 PM on April 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

Cormac McCarthy is often accused of imitating Faulkner.
posted by synecdoche at 6:06 PM on April 16, 2012

Ada by Vladimir Nabokov.
Pilgrimage by Dorothy Richardson.
To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.
Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.
Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi.
Eucalyptus by Murray Bail.
Much of Joyce Carol Oates: My Sister, My Love comes to mind, but you can never go wrong with Bellefleur or Foxfire.
Susan Sontag's The Volcano Lover.
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:14 PM on April 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, heavens, how could I forget Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities?
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:45 PM on April 16, 2012

I'd recommend Jonathan Lethem and Colson Whitehead, especially JL's The Fortress of Solitude and pretty much anything from CW (take your pick from the zombies in Zone One, gorgeous coming-of-age language in Sag Harbor or psychic-esque elevator inspectors in The Intuitionist.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:30 PM on April 16, 2012

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
posted by Dorinda at 7:55 PM on April 16, 2012

Petersburg, Andrei Bely.
posted by kickingtheground at 10:00 PM on April 16, 2012

There is a sentence 9 pages long in W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz. All his fiction has a certain hallucinatory quality to it where he weaves what may be real experience with fictional experience and you're never quite sure where the lines of demarcation are.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 10:46 PM on April 16, 2012

William Gaddis The Recognitions and J R.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:34 AM on April 17, 2012

At the striking of noon on a certain fifth of March, there occurred within a causal radius of Brandon railway station and yet beyond the deepest pools of emptiness between the uttermost stellar systems one of those infinitesimal ripples in the creative silence of the First Cause which always occur when an exceptional stir of consciousness agitates any living consciousness in this astronomical universe. Something passed at that moment, a wave, a motion, a vibration, too tenuous to be called magnetic, too subliminal to be called spiritual, between the soul of a particular human being who was emerging from a third-class carriage of the twelve-nineteen train from London and the divine-diabolic soul of the First Cause of all life.
-The opening of A Glastonbury Romance, by John Cowper Powys. He's basically an English Proust inverted through D.H. Lawrence, with touches of Hardy and Chesterton.
posted by Iridic at 8:01 AM on April 17, 2012

You can always go back to the OGs, too: in the Western tradition, that's Tristram Shandy, by Laurence Sterne, and Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes.

No-sword already mentioned the Tale of Genji; The Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin is its counterpart in the Chinese tradition. The best-reading English translation (in my opinion) is the Penguin multivolume set called The Story of the Stone.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:30 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for all these excellent answers!
posted by shivohum at 10:28 AM on April 20, 2012

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