Five writers you should read
- Flann O’Brien, aka Brian O’Nolan, aka Myles na gCopaleen
“The man was ingenious and learned like Jim Joyce and like Sam Beckett gave the reader a sweet dose of hopelessness,” wrote John Updike in 2008 for The New Yorker. “…at his best, he went where he would, at a blithe speed, and carried the reader—a dazzle of verbal dust in his eyes—along.”
Read: The Third Policeman
- Shirley Jackson
“Shirley Jackson is one of those highly idiosyncratic, inimitable writers whose achievement is not so broad, ambitious or so influential as the ‘major’ writers—Melville, James, Hemingway, Faulkner—but whose work exerts an enduring spell.” Joyce Carol Oates, via the Library of America.
Read: We Have Always Lived in the Castle
- Ariana Reines
“Reines is interested in and has studied performance, and is an irresistible, waifish, wisecracking public impresario of her poems. She’s discussed endlessly on the Web,” wrote Richard Hell in his Bookforum review of Reines’s two latest collections. “Whatever all that might suggest, her heart truly is in the gutter with the filthy and distraught and impossible and she’s one notch above a bag lady herself, literally. She is about nothing but poetry—poetry and decency (though possibly in that order).”
Read: Coeur de Lion
- Wallace Markfield
“Every time I’ve published a novel, I’ve had a dream about Saul Bellow. I remember particularly the one before Teitlebaum’s Window. He was in my mother’s kitchen and my mother was paying him far more attention than she was me. Now I suspect that the rivalry is over…Oh, he’s won. How do you compete with the Nobel Laureate? I don’t think that I especially care to compete with Humboldt’s Gift.” Markfield in an interview with John O’Brien.
Read: To an Early Grave
- Lydia Millet
“When a bird landed on her foot the pop star was surprised. She had shot it, certainly, with her gun. Then it fell from the sky. But she had not expected the actual death thing. Its beak spurted blood. She’d never really noticed birds. Though one reviewer had compared her to a screeching harpy. That was back when she was starting. What an innocent child she was then. She’d actually gone and looked it up at the library. ‘One of several loathsome, voracious monsters. They have the head of a woman and the wings and claws of a bird.’” From the story “Sexing the Pheasant.”
Read: Love in Infant Monkeys