Let’s talk a minute about a hypothetical sales situation.
You’ve just found out that a relatively new customer, who goes by the name of Nigel Pendleton, has recently burned through all of the fictional works of Charles Bukowski and Richard Brautigan, and he now feels that no other authors will be able to measure up to the standard. After all, is it creatively possible to top The Hawkline Monster or Dreaming of Babylon?
The best response here is to agree with Mr. Pendleton that Brautigan in particular is a tough act to follow. And any writer who manages to work Nebuchadnezzar into a narrative–along with a detective who doesn’t have any bullets for his gun—frankly deserves to be on one of those literary t-shirts that they are making these days.
Well, you could always set Nigel up with Hunter S. Thompson, but whatever you decide to recommend, don’t forget to pull the book off the shelf and place it in his hands.
We would likely opt for Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem. It’s a singular work with a very good first-person narrator, just the kind of home run pick that will convince the good Mr. Pendleton to return for your next idea.
To make sure he buys Motherless Brooklyn, though, ask him to read the opening paragraph for a sample of what the voice might be like. We’re betting that he’ll put money down.
“Thanks very much indeed, sir.”