Which Writers Make You Go “Wow?”

Every superbly talented writer has the ability to make you go “Wow!” when you read their prose or poetry. They just do it in different ways; that is, superbly drawn characters, intricate plots, or indelible language, etc.

In terms of language, one writer who definitely makes me go “Wow!” is Michael Ondjaatje in his 1992 novel The English Patient.  Upon reading it, I swore he’d painted the words onto the page instead of writing them. I felt like that because of passages like the following:

{Thoughts of a young Sikh from the Punjab on a bomb-disposal mission at night into Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.]  “And the sergeant released the catch of the flare and held it up in his outstretched arm, the niagara of its light pouring off his fist, and stood there for the length of its burn like that. . . . But the young sapper was already on his back, the rifle aimed, his eye almost brushing the beards of Noah and Abraham and the variety of demons until he reached the great face and was stilled by it, the face like a spear, wise, unforgiving.”

Or this one…“There are betrayals in war that are childlike compared with our human betrayals during peace. The new lovers enter the habits of the other. Things are smashed, revealed in a new light. This is done with nervous or tender sentences, although the heart is an organ of fire.”

Or this..“’Every night I cut out my heart. But in the morning it was full again.”

Its prose like that that made me want to give up my own writing because I knew I’d never be able to match it! But then, I realized I had different strengths and my own stories to tell. so I continue to enjoy superb authors like Ondjaatje and others and use them for inspiration to reach heights I otherwise might not reach. So, which writers make you go “Wow!” and why?


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