Saturday, May 28, 2005

Individual Voice

I recently finished reading Alice Hoffman's novel Blue Diary. It was a typical Hoffman book -- dreamy tone; characters engulfed in passionate, destructive, all-consuming relationships; an outsider brought into the community fold only to be cast out when a secret is revealed.

It got me thinking about authors whose style is so distinctive that you could recognize their writing even if no name were attached to it. For me, Hoffman is such a writer. Within 3 sentences of any of her books, her signature style announces itself.

Other modern writers I could identify automatically include Louise Erdrich, Ann Tyler, Anne Lamott, Barbara Kingsolver, Richard Russo, and, on the lighter side, Carrie Fisher and David Sedaris.

Excluding the obvious ones (like William Faulkner, James Joyce, and Jane Austen), what writers do you find so singular in style that you could readily identify a blind passage?