I went through a phase that lasted about eleven years during which I could not read fiction. It just didn't hold my interest. It followed a far longer phase of gorging on prose; I guess it was the lash-back. In 2008 I started to feel the hunger for prose fiction again, and that has turned into a ravenous starvation that cannot be satisfied. Recently, four authors have become an obsession, I thought I'd share!
LEO TOLSTOY: I read War & Peace in high school but that was the end of my exposure to Tolstoy. A few years ago a new translation was released; I was working in a bookstore and couldn't resist the beautifully bound book. Ever since, I have been engrossed in Tolstoy. Apart from discovering an endlessly fascinating man of his time, I have finally discovered the oceanic depth of his writing. My favorite story is "The Death of Ivan Ilyich".
DAVID FOSTER WALLACE: Back in the 90's I grouped Wallace with all other "post modern novelists", a genre that does not appeal to me. Recently, a friend insisted that I give him another try. I can now understand why his work is so highly regarded. Wallace is prose of the highest order, his work is life-changing. I'm slowly working my way through his epic "Infinite Jest" and reading short stories and essays. One of the most rewarding and humbling reading experiences of my life.
DORIS LESSING: I have always been intrigued by her five volume science fiction epic, The Canopus Sequence, and finally started reading it last summer. This is science fiction of the first order, an astonishing work of imagination and insight. The story is impossible to encapsulate, it has to be read. But the prose is as rich and evocative as prose can possibly be. Well worth reading.
ROBERT JORDAN: See my first blog post. In short, a revelation.
All of these authors are inspiring me to elevate my craft and write at the height of my powers, to dig deeper than I ever have before, and to commit seriously to the art of the novel.