Friday, 14 November 2008

My favourite authors and why I like them so much

Here I have written little explanations for why these are my favourite authors.

J. G. Ballard
- He dissects our culture with a perfect scientist's-eye precision. He ilogically uses logic to make 2 + 2 make 5 in an incredibly perverse, deviant manner. He constantly builds an equilibrium between waking life and dreams, and, as a consequence of this, unveils the hidden mechanisms of the human mind.

William Faulkner - He vigorously attacks subject matter from all angles at once. His novels are an intricate maze where time is fractured, making the second and third and fourth reading vital in order to shed light on what preceded the final chapters. He employs a masterful use of the stream of consciousness technique in order to understand the human condition which is in a state of deterioration in the south of the USA.

Paul Auster
- A storyteller of supreme originality and unprecedented power. His most predominant theme is that of arbitrary and co-incidental events. All his characters are seekers who are looking for some sort of truth who are caught up amidst these 'arbitrary' events. Auster fuses these metaphysical and existential issues with the metric pace of crime thrillers to put this across. As a critic somewhere said, he is 'an experimental writer who is also compulsively readable.'

Jorge Luis Borges
- His work is endlessly re-readable: his short-stories can be read again and again with the exact same feeling of sheer amazement. He renovated language, and introduced a way of thinking that had never been conjured up before. He read everything, so he consequently took all his literary knowledge for an intellectual game-play that modified the past. His main themes are labyrinths and infinity, and he interjects his themes into a number of settings: fictional essays, realism, fantasy, parables, poems,etc.

Juan Rulfo
- He makes you feel the poverty and wretched hopelessness of rural Mexico in the first half of 20th century. He gets this done extremely well with either an incredibly simplistic approach or an incredibly complex approach. He employs a linear narrative in the short story collection The Burning Plain but, like Faulkner, in Pedro Páramo he makes time fractured as all the action is set in a ghost town, which ultimately means that there is no discernible beginning or end because the characters are dead and no longer have a sense of time. I urge you to read him if you enjoyed Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Julio Cortázar
- He replicates the games we all played in childhood with a forthright use of humour. He consequently implements themes taken from childhood into the kind of intellectual game-play set out by Borges, but shrouds it with a deceptively 'realist' setting. These fantastic elements are concealed enigmatically until they finally erupt out of its self-imposed constraints, and have a characteristic which is rare in the short story form (the form which he mastered the most): they seem to question the reader, and seek to involve him/her in the narrative.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- His novels are absolutely engrossing right from the very beginning to the very end. He was the precursor to 20th century literature; he was the person who established all the themes that were to be developed by the leading existential thinkers; he was ahead of his time. All the novels I've read by him have imprinted an awe in me, and this sensation of amazement has lingered unsettlingly in the back of my mind.

Thomas Pynchon
- He attempts to cramp the most disparate of elements into a very large container. He's a post-modernist James Joyce who apologetically and violently and abrasively experiments with form. He branches out to many non-literary themes - physics, mathematics, pornography - to achieve an encyclopedic scope and range. His novels are allegedly 'overwritten', but this ambition results in an incredibly rewarding read which is unprecedented by any writer having preceded him

Juan Carlos Onetti
- Passionately unpassionate. I can completely relate with his laziness and his indifference to the rest of the world. I can also relate with his way of looking at 'the other side of things'. He created an imaginary realm called 'Santa Maria' where he intermingled fantasy and reality thus creating 'magic realism'. All his protagonists are anti-heroes, and they are lazy and hopeless cases: people like me.

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