The Quentin Tarantino Archives logo

Favourite Authors


#21

I have been meaning to start reading Tom’s work for some time now. I think I’ll do just that tomorrow.

After all, I don’t have anything else going on & I just finished George Pelecanos’ latest novel

the other day. Many thanks, Frank. :wink:



So long as we’re talking authors, how do you feel about Price, Pelecanos, & Lehane?


#22

[quote=“Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth”]I have been meaning to start reading Tom’s work for some time now. I think I’ll do just that tomorrow.

After all, I don’t have anything else going on & I just finished George Pelecanos’ latest novel

the other day. Many thanks, Frank. :wink:



So long as we’re talking authors, how do you feel about Price, Pelecanos, & Lehane?[/quote]

Of the three I prefer Pelecanos. They’re stuff doesn’t amaze me, though. It’s much more like journalism than fiction.


#23

Which of their books have you read, respectively?


#24

[quote=“Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth”]Which of their books have you read, respectively?[/quote]

I’ve read stuff like Clockers by Price and others I’ve started but boredom set in and I stopped. They weren’t memorable at all.


#25

Oh, well. Diff’rent strokes, c est la vie, etc.



Anyhoo, I’m missing Always Sunny In Philadelphia. I’ll catch ya later, man.


#26

[quote=“F.W.”]
He’s like Lars Von Trier, he’s a shockateur and there’s no basis for it. I love when people fuck with mass audiences for satire sake but when the satire behind it all is weak, there’s no point. His stories are like he just skimmed through the sad old stories of perverts and sex addicts (which he did) without finding any of the things that could make them legitimately interesting and biting. His prose is hailed as original but to me it’s boring and in comparison with guys like Pynchon and Vonnegut, it’s ugly.[/quote]

Palahniuk is a minimalist. A true minimalist. He takes out everything unnecessary and what you have is doing, is action. Writing characters outside of the social norm is the point too. He writes transgressive fiction. Like Nick Zedd and Richard Kern did in film. “Anti-social” characters and a deep thread of nihilism running through all his works. I find his characters endearing though. I don’t really see him as a hollow Lars Von Trier, because he isn’t out to alienate anyone, in my opinion.



Personally, though, even if I didn’t think his books were worth a damn in any other sense, I don’t see the problem with being a shockateur for no reason. Just like I have no problem style over substance in cinema. There’s a point where using the language of cinema in a beautiful and fluent technical sense is an art in itself (something I don’t find true of Speed Racer, I must say, though). I don’t see how fiction should be any different. Using words, writing in a purely technical sense, the poetry of thought in a fiction setting. That’s something I consider art. I am a fan of stream of consciousness.



Just like Burroughs is one of my favourite authors and a technique he used called the “cut-up” consisted of writing something, cutting the page in half and stick two halves together to create a new prose. Obviously, the meaning is obscured and the sentences are usually non-sensical to an extent. But it’s prose and the sentences are beautiful and memorable in an abstract way.



My favourite authors:

*Hunter S. Thompson

*William S. Burroughs

*Jack Kerouac

*Charles Bukowski

*Bret Easton Ellis

*Kurt Vonnegut

*Chuck Palahniuk

*Elmore Leonard

*Hitomi Kanehara

*Haruki Murakami

*Ryu Murakami

*Banana Yoshimoto

*Yukio Mishima

*Allen Ginsberg


#27

[quote=“Angel”][quote=“F.W.”]
He’s like Lars Von Trier, he’s a shockateur and there’s no basis for it. I love when people fuck with mass audiences for satire sake but when the satire behind it all is weak, there’s no point. His stories are like he just skimmed through the sad old stories of perverts and sex addicts (which he did) without finding any of the things that could make them legitimately interesting and biting. His prose is hailed as original but to me it’s boring and in comparison with guys like Pynchon and Vonnegut, it’s ugly.[/quote]

Palahniuk is a minimalist. A true minimalist. He takes out everything unnecessary and what you have is doing, is action. Writing characters outside of the social norm is the point too. He writes transgressive fiction. Like Nick Zedd and Richard Kern did in film. “Anti-social” characters and a deep thread of nihilism running through all his works. I find his characters endearing though. I don’t really see him as a hollow Lars Von Trier, because he isn’t out to alienate anyone, in my opinion.



Personally, though, even if I didn’t think his books were worth a damn in any other sense, I don’t see the problem with being a shockateur for no reason. Just like I have no problem style over substance in cinema. There’s a point where using the language of cinema in a beautiful and fluent technical sense is an art in itself (something I don’t find true of Speed Racer, I must say, though). I don’t see how fiction should be any different. Using words, writing in a purely technical sense, the poetry of thought in a fiction setting. That’s something I consider art. I am a fan of stream of consciousness.



Just like Burroughs is one of my favourite authors and a technique he used called the “cut-up” consisted of writing something, cutting the page in half and stick two halves together to create a new prose. Obviously, the meaning is obscured and the sentences are usually non-sensical to an extent. But it’s prose and the sentences are beautiful and memorable in an abstract way.



My favourite authors:

*Hunter S. Thompson

*William S. Burroughs

*Jack Kerouac

*Charles Bukowski

*Bret Easton Ellis

*Kurt Vonnegut

*Chuck Palahniuk

*Elmore Leonard

*Hitomi Kanehara

*Haruki Murakami

*Ryu Murakami

*Banana Yoshimoto

*Yukio Mishima

*Allen Ginsberg[/quote]

There’s quality style over substance, though. Don’t try and sit here and tell me the guy who writes elaborate shock is a “minimalist”. Monte Hellman is a minimalist, Rudy Wurlitzer is a minimalist. Palahniuk is far from being a goddamn minimalist. He’s trying to be bigger than he is and he doesn’t ever break out of that schlock bullshit. Maybe you’re right in he tries to strip away the unnecessary but not in any sense of form or style…it’s in the sense of Roger Corman: rushed lazy that stumbles upon commercial/cult, to some degree, likability.


#28

[quote=“F.W.”]
There’s quality style over substance, though. Don’t try and sit here and tell me the guy who writes elaborate shock is a “minimalist”. Monte Hellman is a minimalist, Rudy Wurlitzer is a minimalist. Palahniuk is far from being a goddamn minimalist. He’s trying to be bigger than he is and he doesn’t ever break out of that schlock bullshit. Maybe you’re right in he tries to strip away the unnecessary but not in any sense of form or style…it’s in the sense of Roger Corman: rushed lazy that stumbles upon commercial/cult, to some degree, likability.[/quote]

He doesn’t run away. He doesn’t do anything.



From somewhere behind him, the Mommy says, "Now what-ever you do, don’t turn around."



The Mommy tells him how there used to be a beautiful girl in ancient Greece, the daughter of a potter.



Like every time she gets out of jail and comes back to claim him, the kid and the Mommy have been in a different motel every night. They’ll eat fast food for every meal, and just drive all day, every day. At lunch today, the kid tried to eat his corn dog while it was still too hot and almost swallowed it whole, but it got stuck and he couldn’t breathe or talk until the Mommy charged around from her side of the table.



Then two arms were hugging him from behind, lifting him off his feet, and the Mommy whispered, “Breathe! Breathe, damn it!” After that, the kid was crying, and the entire restaurant crowded around.





I don’t know what definition of minimalist you are working on. But I described his writing style in my previous post.



He is a minimalist because he strips his sentences down to actions and the basest of descriptions. In stark contrast to a writer like Mishima who is very descriptive.



The thing is though, Palahniuk hasn’t really written such a novel in quite a while. His recent work is mostly horror. Which generally requires shock.


#29

[quote=“Angel”][quote=“F.W.”]
There’s quality style over substance, though. Don’t try and sit here and tell me the guy who writes elaborate shock is a “minimalist”. Monte Hellman is a minimalist, Rudy Wurlitzer is a minimalist. Palahniuk is far from being a goddamn minimalist. He’s trying to be bigger than he is and he doesn’t ever break out of that schlock bullshit. Maybe you’re right in he tries to strip away the unnecessary but not in any sense of form or style…it’s in the sense of Roger Corman: rushed lazy that stumbles upon commercial/cult, to some degree, likability.[/quote]

He doesn’t run away. He doesn’t do anything.



From somewhere behind him, the Mommy says, "Now what-ever you do, don’t turn around."



The Mommy tells him how there used to be a beautiful girl in ancient Greece, the daughter of a potter.



Like every time she gets out of jail and comes back to claim him, the kid and the Mommy have been in a different motel every night. They’ll eat fast food for every meal, and just drive all day, every day. At lunch today, the kid tried to eat his corn dog while it was still too hot and almost swallowed it whole, but it got stuck and he couldn’t breathe or talk until the Mommy charged around from her side of the table.



Then two arms were hugging him from behind, lifting him off his feet, and the Mommy whispered, “Breathe! Breathe, damn it!” After that, the kid was crying, and the entire restaurant crowded around.





I don’t know what definition of minimalist you are working on. But I described his writing style in my previous post.



He is a minimalist because he strips his sentences down to actions and the basest of descriptions. In stark contrast to a writer like Mishima who is very descriptive.



The thing is though, Palahniuk hasn’t really written such a novel in quite a while. His recent work is mostly horror. Which generally requires shock.[/quote]

Minimalism also comes down to the scope of the work and the actions themselves.



The size of the sentences do not matter when the action its describing is something as wild and exaggerated as someone chewing their way through their intestines at the bottom of a pool after they get sucked out of his ass and into a drain.



I used Hellman as an example because he examines loneliness and alienation. Those are very intimate, minimal issues and he does this in a very cutback way. Palahniuk examines anti-consumerism and terrorism, two bigger issues. Minimalism is a two-sided coin.


#30

[quote=“F.W.”]
Minimalism also comes down to the scope of the work and the actions themselves.



The size of the sentences do not matter when the action its describing is something as wild and exaggerated as someone chewing their way through their intestines at the bottom of a pool after they get sucked out of his ass and into a drain.



I used Hellman as an example because he examines loneliness and alienation. Those are very intimate, minimal issues and he does this in a very cutback way. Palahniuk examines anti-consumerism and terrorism, two bigger issues. Minimalism is a two-sided coin.[/quote]

Yeah, I know what you meant with that. But when I mentioned minimalism, I was referring to doing and action (in a prose sense).



I was going on your assumption that nothing below the surface of his novels is worth a damn, so I decided to give surface reasons why someone would read his book. For the prose completely.


#31

[quote=“Angel”][quote=“F.W.”]
Minimalism also comes down to the scope of the work and the actions themselves.



The size of the sentences do not matter when the action its describing is something as wild and exaggerated as someone chewing their way through their intestines at the bottom of a pool after they get sucked out of his ass and into a drain.



I used Hellman as an example because he examines loneliness and alienation. Those are very intimate, minimal issues and he does this in a very cutback way. Palahniuk examines anti-consumerism and terrorism, two bigger issues. Minimalism is a two-sided coin.[/quote]

Yeah, I know what you meant with that. But when I mentioned minimalism, I was referring to doing and action (in a prose sense).



I was going on your assumption that nothing below the surface of his novels is worth a damn, so I decided to give surface reasons why someone would read his book. For the prose completely.[/quote]

Well in that case:



It’s simply boring.


#32

Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.


#33

[quote=“Angel”]Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.[/quote]

You’re a slave.


#34

[quote=“F.W.”][quote=“Angel”]Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.[/quote]

You’re a slave.[/quote]

To what?



I like many authors and one of them happens to be Palahniuk. For which I am not ashamed.


#35

His work has become increasingly grotesque, prompting critics to label him as a “shock writer”, but although this critique isn’t unfounded it narrows the scope of his writing. So not having any nuances in your approach to Palahniuk seems like having a bit of a slave-like mind to popular opinion.



One could easily praise or bash the substance of his most popular novel Fight Club, fact is, it has some serious substance combined with a charming black humour. I’m not saying he is one of the best writers ever, or even a great writer, but his novels are mostly damn enjoyable to read.



The shock element is something that is used as a device. I think this can tickle you in the right way, like, I presume someone like Tarantino does. Or the wrong way, maybe a bit poorer, more cliché way of Palahniuk. I don’t know if this is a great asset or not. I mostly enjoy some bits and pieces that did hit the spot. Some fun one-liner or situation that will make you giggle.



Do you turn to him to learn anything? Form an opinion on the world or your surroundings? Fuck no. It’s just entertaining. Like a Jester making remarks. A lot miss, but some hit pretty strong.



I am curious what you guys think about Martin Amis.


#36

I personally am not a fan of his more recent horror novels. Choke and Fight Club are my two favourite novels of his and I think they both offer more than just shock appeal. Despite the strong nihilistic undertones that I mentioned previously, I don’t consider him a nihilist. I know he both cares for and respects his protagonists. I know that when I write fiction I often insult my protagonists through their own narration. Because self-deprecating humour is something I resort to often in real life.



I’ve always considered Palahniuk a writer of humour. Maybe that’s why I am not such a fan of his “shock horror” stuff.



That being said, Seth is pretty much right. He’s basically a mainstream author. Almost airport fiction. I’ve never considered him high art or anything. But I do like to read his books and I think he’s talented with words.


#37

Yes, but with there being no difference between favorite and what you consider the best you can’t just say that he’s more miss than hit and not really that great and then list him among contemporary greats.



“Steak is my favorite food ever but it’s mediocre meat.”



See? That just doesn’t fly.


#38

[quote=“F.W.”]Yes, but with there being no difference between favorite and what you consider the best you can’t just say that he’s more miss than hit and not really that great and then list him among contemporary greats.



“Steak is my favorite food ever but it’s mediocre meat.”



See? That just doesn’t fly.[/quote]

This topic is “favourite authors”.



The only list here that’s been titled “best authors” is yours.



And in the event that you say that favourite and best are the same thing because there is no such thing as an objective opinion, I never said he was bad or mediocre. I said it was true that he is a mainstream author. And his inclusion on my list is because of a child-like excitement and fascination with his characters and his prose. If I were to rate my favourite authors using a criteria of influence and resonance, he would be much lower than Burroughs or Thompson for whom I have great respect.



A handful of his books are toned perfectly. They are entertainment for me. A giddy pleasure. And as far as entertainment goes, they succeed. Back to the future isn’t an allegory depicting the Russian Revolution or a deep insight into societal archetypes, but its great success as a technically well-formed piece of entertainment is why I respect it greatly.



Palahniuk is that and, additionally, I think he offers intelligent glimpses of himself and his generation amid the narrative. I find these truths in his work. I, as an individual. That is why he is on my list of “favourite authors”.



Not my “completely-objective-super-list-of-all-that-is-definitively-great-on-this-earth-in-the-minds-of-every-person-alive” list.


#39

I have a friend that will argue with you forever about how “favorite” and “what you think is the best” are the same thing. I agree with him but I’m not as persistent and psychotic obsessive as he is about the subject.



I’ve seen him clear rooms.


#40

I am a firm believer that there is a distinction between ‘favourite’ and ‘best’.





I am for instance not a big fan of ‘naturalism’. Now I don’t list Emile Zola among my favourites, but I do consider him, as a writer who, in his own field, can be considered among the best, historical important writers.



If you do scientific research a personal pet favourite shouldn’t be mistaken for best. Favourite is more a term for enjoyable. While best isn’t necessarily the most enjoyable. Some of the best things that have been written aren’t always a joy to read. Like for instance Kant or Heidegger. Mostly just a pain in the ass to read, although rewarding.



I also believe that most of the people, mostly including myself, don’t know what they are talking about when they talk about ‘best’ this or that. So the view gets distorted. Their lists would be made up out of personal favourites rather than best overall. Superficial, cliché writing getting on top sellers lists and making it into a lot of favourite lists.



Furthermore there is always a social construction, a certain Hegelian Zeitgeist which will have authors or artists higher up on the list in different times.



I don’t think there is a definite answer, but I definitely lean towards a distinction between more or less objective best and random favourites.