Michael Dirda on Who He Thought Possible

From the Swedish Article referenced below (I was wrong about babelfish)

Michael Dirda, literary critic, Washington Post, United States
  "I would choose angloirl√§ndaren William Trevor, the greatest living short story bar.  Also, the regular American candidates Philip Roth, Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon and Joyce Carol Oates would be good choices, as well as children's author Maurice Sendak. Other tips are Dutchman Cees Nooteboom, Australian Les Murray and Canadian Alice Munro.  Unfortunately, the contemporary writers that I admire most - such as James Salter, Russell Hoban, Gene Wolfe and John Crowley are not sufficiently widespread.

The reason I note this is to remark upon what really fine taste Mr. Dirda displays in his list of most-admired contemporary writers.  It's one of the things I like most about Dirda as a critic--he doesn't toe any genre lines.  And there are at least two on this list that fall into my own list of contemporary greats.


  1. Steven,

    "Russell Hoban, Gene Wolfe, and John Crowley"

    Unfortunately these three are trapped in the science fiction ghetto, and I doubt will ever receive any sort of "literary" recognition while they are alive.

    Wolfe and Hoban are two of my favorite writers, regardless of genre.

    I don't know anything about Salter, but if he groups them with those three, I should take a look at him.

  2. Dear Fred,

    Salter is not of the same species or even genus, and I haven't read much myself.

    I agree with you on one of the two--I haven't read enough Hoban to make a good critical evaluation. I, however, love almost everything I've read by Crowley, and especially like the fact that some of the recent work takes the best elements of things such as Little, Big and moves them into the mainstream.

    Thanks for commenting.




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