Steve Hoy posted a comment to this blog a few weeks back asking if anyone had recommendations for some good fiction. Pete replied:
STEVE: “i just finished reading john irving’s last night in twisted river, and while it was good i kinda got antsy to finish it, unlike thomas bergers ‘ (my main man) 2nd little big man book, which i was sorry to come to the end. can anybody recommend some good american fiction?”
I’m the wrong one to ask because my favorite books are all picture books. I did, however, know who to ask. Pete LaBonne sent back a list that should get you through the summer.
PETE: “Sorry for not responding sooner, but I picked up a few Donald Westlake books and didn’t get around to it. Let me make it clear though, I don’t advocate the buying of books. Except maybe for Alaska Bear Tales by Larry something.
If you have to read anything other than William T. Vollmann:
From the old school there’s The Wild Palms by Faulkner, East Of Eden by Stienbeck, & The American Claimant by Twain.
I don’t know if you can consider Conrad & Nabokov american, Hugo was sure french though. While, and you can quote me on this, Flannery O’Connor left the nastiest and most beautiful legacy in the Catholic language, you know, except for the Petticoat Junction theme song.
Tristan Egolf (Lord Of The Barnyard) killed himself, as did David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest). Saul Bellow died on his own. I haven’t seen anything new by D. Keith Mano (Take Five) in a long time or come to think about it or by Pete Hautman (The Mortal Nuts) but you never know unless you go to the trouble to find out. Thomas Pynchon is still alive and getting better. Mason & Dixon is great and so is Inherent Vice.
We do know all about Richard Bachman (of The Regulators fame).
Paul Theroux has written several great books, O Zone, Picture Palace, The Family Arsenal & probably something else I’m forgetting. While Theodore Rozak wrote only one masterpiece which would be titled Flicker.
Then there’s Robert Coover’s wonderful novel Gerald’s Party which I read three times. In fact I read most of these three times. While you’re in “C”, You might want to check out Cormac McCarthy if your library sometimes throws first names into it’s alphabetization scheme.
Then the shit starts getting nasty with Chuck Pahlaniuk which might have a misplaced “H”. Then it gets downright EVIL with Nykanen’s The Bone Parade.
But. There are two books which scared the HELL out of me; L.A. Rex by Will Beall and Alaska Bear Tales by Larry something.”