I love reading a well written books eith clever phrasing, elegant words use, i just don't know where to start. With so many avid readers here, can yall recommend books or authors who really know their way with words? I'm starving for some fun word play.
Authors with a nice way with words
|by Anonymous||reply 105||03/15/2019|
Not elegant but I always loved Stephen King’s descriptions. Horrifying yet made me giggle at the same time.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||03/08/2019|
Andrew Holleran. “Dancer From the Dance” is exquisite.
Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Conrad, Evelyn Waugh, Kazuo Ishiguro, Truman Capote also come to mind.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||03/08/2019|
Anything by Andrew Holleran. He writes beautiful prose. There are times when you have to reread a sentence or a paragraph over and over because the writing is so exquisite.
Start with 'Dancer from the Dance' and 'In September, the Light Changes: The Stories of Andrew Holleran'.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||03/08/2019|
British writer Tessa Hadley has a stunning way with words.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||03/08/2019|
Read the Patrick Melrose Diaries. The prose style (especially in the first two books) is remarkable. More or less contemporary too. I also really like Martin Amis (his bullshit macho failings notwithstanding).
|by Anonymous||reply 5||03/08/2019|
Michael Chabon -- I don't always like his subject matter (or plotting) but he has a very distinct prose style.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||03/08/2019|
An old answer but a reliable one: F. Scott Fitzgerald. His prose is elegant and precise. Compare his writing to the bold yet clumsy writing of Hemingway (speaking of macho failings).
|by Anonymous||reply 7||03/08/2019|
Philip Roth. And a big "NO" for the Patrick Melrose Diaries from this reader.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||03/08/2019|
A big YES for St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels. Fantastic writing and very funny, but dark. R1, turn in your library card immediately.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||03/08/2019|
Philip Roth is kind of a douche, but his prose is excellent. American Pastoral has some truly well-written passages.
Annie Proulx also has some gorgeous prose in her works.
Gabriel García Márquez - especially One Hundred Years of Solitude
|by Anonymous||reply 10||03/08/2019|
I'm a big fan of Alice McDermott. "Charming Billy" was the book of hers I read (I was hooked) and I really loved her most recent novel "Someone".
|by Anonymous||reply 11||03/08/2019|
Another vote for Waugh. Also Le Carre, Dickens, and Shakespeare.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||03/08/2019|
+1 on Holleran, Roth, McDermott, and Chabon, to which I will add Anna Quindlen. Yes, I know she's the Frauiest Frau in Frauington, now emeritus, but she sure has a way with a sentence. Her nonfiction is much better than her fiction IMO.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||03/08/2019|
|by Anonymous||reply 14||03/08/2019|
|by Anonymous||reply 15||03/08/2019|
|by Anonymous||reply 16||03/08/2019|
Zora Neale Hurston. Start with THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD.
|by Anonymous||reply 17||03/08/2019|
Nonfiction but an amazing mastery of words: Conrad Black. Yes, a contentious, right wing figure. But his bio of FDR is written so eloquently, you will want to raise your game verbally.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||03/08/2019|
Anything by Flannery O'Connor.
John Steinbeck: "East of Eden" and "Of Mice and Men."
F. Scott Fitzgerald: "The Great Gatsby."
|by Anonymous||reply 19||03/08/2019|
N one writing today uses the English language more beautifully than Mark Helprin. His new book, "Paris in the Present Tense," is a masterpiece.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||03/08/2019|
Graham Greene was a master wordsmith.
|by Anonymous||reply 21||03/08/2019|
Fitzgerald is a good one.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||03/10/2019|
A little on the lighter side: Fannie Flagg
|by Anonymous||reply 23||03/10/2019|
|by Anonymous||reply 24||03/10/2019|
+1 Dickens. I almost constantly chuckle through his works.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||03/10/2019|
Joe McGinnis - Fatal Vision. This book is about Jeffrey Macdonald . The Green Beret doctor who murdered his wife and two daughters. He had the Irish gift.
|by Anonymous||reply 26||03/10/2019|
Jane Gardam, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton and Somerset Maugham
|by Anonymous||reply 27||03/10/2019|
Edmund White is a keen social observer and memoirist with an agile prose style.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||03/10/2019|
George RR Martin. His descriptions of sex are embarrassing but with one sentence he can express so much sadness and misery. His dialogue is also great.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||03/10/2019|
William Saroyan tends to be forgotten but is a wonderful prose stylist.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||03/10/2019|
Holleran - meh. Good stories and relatable - but I don’t think of them as poetic.
St Aubyns Patrick Melrose books though have so many unique turns of phrase and insight that I love - though the darkness is not quite as uplifting as Holleran.
Edmund White can be insightful - and always relatable. But I’ve never found him particularly poetic. More of a “churn ‘em out” kind of writer geared towards selling books and marketing.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||03/10/2019|
James Gould Cozzens had a unique prose style that nevertheless became increasingly diffuse as he grew older, even if he was still thrilling to read.
|by Anonymous||reply 32||03/10/2019|
Holleran? Meh? What’s your idea of beautiful prose, R31?
|by Anonymous||reply 33||03/10/2019|
F you all. I try my best.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||03/10/2019|
I also came here to mention Fitzgerald/Gatsby. John Banville can write a helluva sentence; The Sea is tremendous. On a lighter note, Douglas Adams had fun with thoughts and language.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||03/10/2019|
Eudora Welty "one writer's beginnings", Carson McCullers "Heart is a lonely hunter" , almost all Ross McDonald. Totally agree about Fiztgerald particularly "The crack up", Oscar Wilde "De profundis". I feel guilty about it but i like a lot Alexis Hall "Glitterland" for the writing style.
|by Anonymous||reply 36||03/10/2019|
T.C. Boyle: intelligent, descriptive, and witty.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||03/10/2019|
A long-ago writer with an ear for vernacular: Ring Lardner (the sportswriter/playwright/reviewer). Also, Raymond Chandler.'s prose makes me feel that I'm reclining in the backseat of a large, old-style, luxury automobile.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||03/10/2019|
PG Wodehouse, Terry Pratchett, Ursula Leguin
|by Anonymous||reply 39||03/10/2019|
Agree with Banville as a beautiful writer. A lot of the Irish authors seem to have great turns of phrase. Don Dellilo is often unique. Like James Baldwin too.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||03/10/2019|
"Mystic River" by Dennis Lehane is a page-turner and engrossing.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||03/10/2019|
Non-fiction: Churchill ("History of the English-speaking People").
|by Anonymous||reply 42||03/10/2019|
Hardy, yes! His fiction is better than his poems.
|by Anonymous||reply 43||03/10/2019|
The author has to be an artist with a gift for prose or I won't read it. Most writers type like a computer.
|by Anonymous||reply 44||03/10/2019|
For non-fiction, Nathaniel Philbrick's "In the Heart of the Sea." A whaling boat gets wrecked by a whale (inspiration for "Moby Dick"), the whalers pile into separate, smaller whale boats. People get hungry, cannibalism ensues.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||03/10/2019|
Vladimir Nabkkov’s “Ada”.
And the man’s first language was Russian. He had an astonishing grasp of English, his wordplay is divine.
|by Anonymous||reply 46||03/10/2019|
^^ Nabokov ^^
|by Anonymous||reply 47||03/10/2019|
Virginia Woolf, Annie Dillard, Toni Morrison (esp. Beloved), Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller, Joyce, Faulkner, Rilke, Donne, Gerard Manley Hopkins (Harry Ploughman might be the gayest poem ever), Thomas Mann, Proust...
|by Anonymous||reply 48||03/10/2019|
Jesus, so many writers from last century.
Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty. His sent ences are so lovely you can taste them.
Anne Patchett, Commonwealth; also, State of Wonder by her.
Another vote for Edmund White.
|by Anonymous||reply 49||03/10/2019|
Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Exquisite.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||03/10/2019|
Shouldn't they all by definition?
|by Anonymous||reply 51||03/10/2019|
|by Anonymous||reply 52||03/10/2019|
Elegance does not equal poetic.
|by Anonymous||reply 53||03/10/2019|
Up one for Line of Beauty. Nice prose and wonderfully evocative of the era.
|by Anonymous||reply 54||03/10/2019|
Pat Conroy fits into this category:
[italic]My soul grazes like a lamb on the beauty of the indrawn tides.[/italic]
As does Anne Rice.
They are both marvelous at beautiful, lush prose, as opposed to someone like Hemingway whose prose is tight, sparse and almost athletic.
|by Anonymous||reply 55||03/10/2019|
Pat Conroy can come across as mawkish but does have some nice turns of phrase.
|by Anonymous||reply 56||03/11/2019|
Conroy's a guilty pleasure for me -- his stuff is overwrought and overwritten, but I love it anyway.
|by Anonymous||reply 57||03/11/2019|
|by Anonymous||reply 58||03/11/2019|
Non-fiction but a glorious read: Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane.
"For years now, the British writer Robert Macfarlane has been collecting place-words: terms for aspects of landscape, nature, and weather, drawn from dozens of languages and dialects of the British Isles. In this, his fifth book, Macfarlane brilliantly explores the linguistic and literary terrain of the British archipelago, from the Shetlands to Cornwall and from Cumbria to Suffolk, offering themed glossaries of hundreds of these rare, deeply local, poetical terms, organized by such geographical terrains as flatlands, uplands, waterlands, coastlands, woodlands, and underlands. Interspersed with this archive of place words are biographical essays in which Macfarlane writes of his favorite authors who have paid close attention to the natural world and who embody in their own work the huge richness of place language—from Barry Lopez and John Muir to Nan Shepard, J. A. Baker, and Roger Deakin. Landmarks is a book about the power of language and how it can become a way to know and love landscape, from a writer acclaimed for his own precision of utterance and distinctive, lyrical voice."
|by Anonymous||reply 59||03/11/2019|
Ellen Meloy’s nonfiction work is lovely. Read “The Anthropology of Turquoise.”
|by Anonymous||reply 60||03/11/2019|
James Baldwin, Edith Wharton, Steinbeck, Zadie Smith. I'll think of more. Whether fiction which all these are, or non fiction, I like someone who is conversational in style and who is a good storyteller. Someone who can convey an world, or describe a character with a single phrase. Someone who can paint a picture for me.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||03/11/2019|
Salvatore Scibona -- he hasn't written too much and isn't very well-known, but he should be. "The End" was art.
|by Anonymous||reply 62||03/11/2019|
I'm partial to Willa Cather.
Thornton Wilder's "The Bridge of San Luis Rey"is a beautifully written book.
|by Anonymous||reply 63||03/11/2019|
I don't think anyone has mentioned E.M. Forster--I especially liked "A Passage to India." Colm Toibin writes beautifully (without John Banville's extreme flourishes). Jean Rhys wrote strange and compelling novels--all of them so sad. "Wide Sargasso Sea" is probably the best. Penelope Fitzgerald--the first one I read got the Booker, "The Blue Flower." Ruth Rendell was a great writer of simple and economic prose, unpretentious, yet completely suited to her subjects. I agree with Le Carre. Genre novelists don't get the attention they deserve. Used to be a huge DeLillo fan but the novels after "Underworld" haven't been as good, so I stopped reading him.
|by Anonymous||reply 64||03/11/2019|
Nabokov’s Collection of Short Stories - Exquisite.
|by Anonymous||reply 65||03/11/2019|
Rilke, and I must say that I am a fan of Joan Didion's sparse and well edited non fiction.
|by Anonymous||reply 66||03/11/2019|
And fuck, I must say that Olive Kitteridge has some wonderful passages as well.
|by Anonymous||reply 67||03/11/2019|
I have never read anyone whose writing style was as exquisite as in Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood". It is my all time favourite book, next to "Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov.
|by Anonymous||reply 68||03/11/2019|
|by Anonymous||reply 69||03/11/2019|
I haven't read [italic]In Cold Blood[/italic] but I did read some of Capote's short stories including the Thanksgiving and Christmas memory narratives and the writing is indeed exquisite.
|by Anonymous||reply 70||03/11/2019|
|by Anonymous||reply 71||03/11/2019|
A nice way with words? No one beats George Eliot.
|by Anonymous||reply 72||03/11/2019|
I nominate Marcel Proust in the admirable translation by C.K. Scott Moncrieff, decorated war hero and gay.
|by Anonymous||reply 73||03/11/2019|
Saul. Bellow. Read Henderson the Rain King immediately.
|by Anonymous||reply 74||03/11/2019|
Robert Penn Warren: All the King's Men. Exquisite writing. Take your time.
|by Anonymous||reply 75||03/11/2019|
Try the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake. He has a way with words.
|by Anonymous||reply 76||03/11/2019|
Terry Pratchett was great, rest his soul. His earlier Discworld books are wonderful.
|by Anonymous||reply 77||03/11/2019|
Brilliant Irish novelist and short story writer.
|by Anonymous||reply 78||03/11/2019|
For delicious writing that captures the true eccentricity of southern turns of phrase, the short stories of Bailey White are wonderful. (She was the gravelly-voiced first-grade teacher from south Georgia who used to read some of her stories on NPR in the 90s. ).
Second the love for the poetic prose of Holleran, and I'm so glad someone brought up "One Writer's Beginnings" by Eudora Welty, in which she writes so beautifully about her upbringing in Jackson Mississippi.
Some sentences from Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs are exquisite, although the book itself was uneven.
|by Anonymous||reply 79||03/11/2019|
^^^ about his mother's southern accent , which stood out in the northern town he grew up in:
"Other people sound flat to my ear; their words just hang in the air. But when my mother says something, the ends curl.”
|by Anonymous||reply 80||03/11/2019|
E F Benson’s “Mapp & Lucia” novels, Dawn Powell, Barbara Pym, Gore Vidal’s History novels, Nancy Mitford, and the greatest of all, John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces”—simply magnificent.
|by Anonymous||reply 81||03/11/2019|
I need to read John Kennedy Toole again. Everyone says how good he is. Rest his soul.
|by Anonymous||reply 82||03/11/2019|
Nabokov, hands down.
|by Anonymous||reply 83||03/11/2019|
Dear God, no to E.M. Forster and Robert Penn Warren. Ghastly writing.
|by Anonymous||reply 84||03/12/2019|
Anthony Trollope and Anthony Burgess
|by Anonymous||reply 85||03/12/2019|
The Remains of the Day
|by Anonymous||reply 86||03/12/2019|
Susan Orlean, The Library Book.
|by Anonymous||reply 87||03/12/2019|
Great one R86. I have to drag out my copy. It's been a long time.
|by Anonymous||reply 88||03/12/2019|
Steinbeck: The Pearl. A perfect, classic book.
|by Anonymous||reply 89||03/12/2019|
Another vote for Larry McMurtry. I don’t like westerns, but Lonesome Dove was a great read.
|by Anonymous||reply 90||03/12/2019|
Joe Keenan's three novels are very gay, spectacularly witty and his way with words will stop you on every page to laugh: "a woman so rich she ovulates Faberge eggs" still cracks me up.
Also: when one character pretends to speak no English and then is confronted by a Spanish speaker: "he started to babble in a language that could only be described as Desperanto."
|by Anonymous||reply 91||03/12/2019|
For those Anthony Burgess fans these are the opening words of Earthly Powers: "It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me."
|by Anonymous||reply 92||03/14/2019|
Another vote for F. Scott Fitzgerald. That’s just a matter of being well read.
The author I really want to bolster with another vote is Truman Capote. He’s just fabulous. His short stories are great and even the compiliation of his letters is a fun read. Yesterday I picked up a beginning book to gardening by fabulous socialite/swan C.Z. Guest and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Truman wrote the introduction. It was enchanting.
|by Anonymous||reply 93||03/14/2019|
For great writing from the Yiddishkeit storytelling tradition: Isaac Beshevis Singer.
|by Anonymous||reply 94||03/14/2019|
Fitzgerald. This passage when Gatsby first kisses Daisy...
"He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. "
|by Anonymous||reply 95||03/14/2019|
R95 And this one:
“We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosy-colored space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows at either end. The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding cake of the ceiling--and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea.”
That image has never left me, after first reading Gatsby 25 years ago.
|by Anonymous||reply 96||03/14/2019|
Anything by Angela Carter.
|by Anonymous||reply 97||03/14/2019|
It is a testament to Nabokov’s genius that he could make a vile character Humbert Humbert tolerable. In “Lolita,” the vivid imagery of the narrator’s childhood tryst with his first love, Annabel, is achingly beautiful.
|by Anonymous||reply 98||03/14/2019|
*like Humbert Humbert.
|by Anonymous||reply 99||03/14/2019|
Nabokov's "The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov" or Beryl Markham's "West with the Night" -
The use of metaphors by the respective authors are gorgeous -
|by Anonymous||reply 100||03/14/2019|
|by Anonymous||reply 101||03/15/2019|
[quote] Kazuo Ishiguro The Remains of the Day gorgeous prose
Fuck him. That book is boring as fuck.
|by Anonymous||reply 102||03/15/2019|
R86 I read Ishiguro's The Unconsoled twice. What a strange and seductive novel. I know it has attracted some negative reviews , but I think it's well worth reading. I read The Remains of the Day many years earlier but it didn't leave me with as great an impression.
|by Anonymous||reply 103||03/15/2019|
I just started The Unconsoled a couple of days ago but thought of giving up after the first 20 pages. I know many smart people consider it brilliant but it just seems so dense....
Remains of the Day was my first Ishiguro and I loved it but I've heard that each of his books is dissimilar to the others.
Your encouraging words make me want to keep going now, r103. Thanks.
|by Anonymous||reply 104||03/15/2019|
Over the years I've had many dreams (nightmares) that have replicated the experiences encountered by the protagonist in The Unconsoled.
|by Anonymous||reply 105||03/15/2019|