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    Can anyone top John Fante? Perhaps Orwell but his writing never sang from the pages; it lacks poetry where it excels in brevity. Whose is your favourite? Quotations by way of example are welcomed.
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    (Original post by macromicro)
    Can anyone top John Fante? Perhaps Orwell but his writing never sang from the pages; it lacks poetry where it excels in brevity. Whose is your favourite? Quotations by way of example are welcomed.
    off the top of my head, a couple of my favourites are Oscar Wilde and Vladimir Nabokov; to me, their prose just flows so seamlessly in a way I cannot quite put my finger on. Dunno about topping Fante though. hmmm
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    Mr de Bernières

    Mr Durrell
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    Cathy Bryant

    As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting.
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    Vladimir Nabokov - my all-time favourite author. This is one of my favourite passages:

    “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.”
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    (Original post by Angury)
    Vladimir Nabokov - my all-time favourite author. This is one of my favourite passages:
    Agreed. I've only read Lolita and Pale Fire; do you recommend any others?

    As it stands I prefer Chekhov, but that's probably because he's the Russian closest to Fante's prose.
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    (Original post by macromicro)
    Agreed. I've only read Lolita and Pale Fire; do you recommend any others?

    As it stands I prefer Chekhov, but that's probably because he's the Russian closest to Fante's prose.
    I've read a couple of his short stories which are a good read. Some of them are available online for free.

    I've got his book Ada or Ardor, which I've been meaning to read for a long, long time. It has received some good reviews though.

    What was Pale Fire like?

    I've read a few of Chekhov's short stories but I just can't get into him.
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    (Original post by Angury)
    I've read a couple of his short stories which are a good read. Some of them are available online for free.

    I've got his book Ada or Ardor, which I've been meaning to read for a long, long time. It has received some good reviews though.

    What was Pale Fire like?

    I've read a few of Chekhov's short stories but I just can't get into him.
    I'll have a look, thanks - are you reading Ada currently? I read Signs and Symbols last night; it really left an impression on me. I have read it several times now and I am quite certain that parts of it were not written by a human:

    All this, and much more, she had accepted, for, after all, living does mean accepting the loss of one joy after another, not even joys in her case, mere possibilities of improvement. She thought of the recurrent waves of pain that for some reason or other she and her husband had had to endure; of the in visible giants hurting her boy in some unimaginable fashion; of the incalculable amount of tenderness contained in the world; of the fate of this tenderness, which is either crushed or wasted, or transformed into madness; of neglected children humming to themselves in unswept corners; of beautiful weeds that cannot hide from the farmer.
    The system of his delusions had been the subject of an elaborate paper in a scientific monthly, which the doctor at the sanitarium had given to them to read. But long before that, she and her husband had puzzled it out for themselves. “Referential mania,” the article had called it. In these very rare cases, the patient imagines that everything happening around him is a veiled reference to his personality and existence. He excludes real people from the conspiracy, because he considers himself to be so much more intelligent than other men. Phenomenal nature shadows him wherever he goes. Clouds in the staring sky transmit to each other, by means of slow signs, incredibly detailed information regarding him. His in- most thoughts are discussed at nightfall, in manual alphabet, by darkly gesticulating trees. Pebbles or stains or sun flecks form patterns representing, in some awful way, messages that he must intercept. Everything is a cipher and of everything he is the theme. All around him, there are spies. Some of them are detached observers, like glass surfaces and still pools; others, such as coats in store windows, are prejudiced witnesses, lynchers at heart; others, again (running water, storms), are hysterical to the point of insanity, have a distorted opinion of him, and grotesquely misinterpret his actions. He must be always on his guard and devote every minute and module of life to the decoding of the undulation of things. The very air he exhales is indexed and filed away. If only the interest he provokes were limited to his immediate surroundings, but, alas, it is not! With distance, the torrents of wild scandal increase in volume and volubility. The silhouettes of his blood corpuscles, magnified a million times, flit over vast plains; and still farther away, great mountains of unbearable solidity and height sum up, in terms of granite and groaning firs, the ultimate truth of his being.

    With regards to Pale Fire: It's very different to Lolita and required of me a great deal of time and effort (but metafiction often does). In general, I'm not especially a fan of experimental fiction but the commentator was engrossing (as mad people often are) and very ironically funny, and the poem flip-flops between conversationally light and incredibly dense, which made it enjoyable. It is, I think, one of those books that needs to be studied.
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    I feel that Alan Hollinghurst is the best prose stylist writing in English today and Anthony Powell the best in the recent past.
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    (Original post by macromicro)
    I'll have a look, thanks - are you reading Ada currently? I read Signs and Symbols last night; it really left an impression on me. I have read it several times now and I am quite certain that parts of it were not written by a human:






    With regards to Pale Fire: It's very different to Lolita and required of me a great deal of time and effort (but metafiction often does). In general, I'm not especially a fan of experimental fiction but the commentator was engrossing (as mad people often are) and very ironically funny, and the poem flip-flops between conversationally light and incredibly dense, which made it enjoyable. It is, I think, one of those books that needs to be studied.
    I started reading Ada months ago then had to stop and haven't touched the book since then. I do want to get back into it though.

    I loved Signs and Symbols - there are sentences in that short story that I could just read over and over again. I agree, it has so many underlying meanings and perspectives, it really is a work of art.

    I have to admit I've been avoiding Pale Fire for a long time despite the fact that I love Nabakov, as I feel it would just go over my head. I may finish Ada or Ardor first before delving into a work like Pale Fire.

    Out of interest, have you read anything by David Foster Wallace? Although his writing style is very different, some of his short stories have had a similar impact on me.
 
 
 
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