What happens when the novels you admire the most aren't like anything else at all?
I read this post after writing some about finding your voice as a writer. Could your Shelf with No Name actually be a Favorite Voices shelf? How many of these authors would you follow into anything they write because of their singular way of writing?
Two of my favorite books are on your list, and I do agree -- it's the interstitial fiction that intrigues me the most. Not everything fits neatly in a box, thank goodness, or what gifts would we wrap in tissue paper, rubber bands and pillowcases?
My no-shelf lodestar is Haruki Murakami's "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World." Man, what I wouldn't give to be capable of pulling something like that off ...
You touched on the idea of some of your favorite writers stretching themselves and trying out new genres, and some of my favorite books I've ever read fit in that category. Stephen King's 11/22/63 isn't his usual horror, but somehow he gives you time travel with ticking-clock suspense, a haunting story about regrets, and a beautiful love story all at once.
Dennis Lehane's The Given Day isn't crime fiction noir, but a sweeping historical epic that feels like his attempt at the Great American Novel. Yet his noir-ish voice gives the book enough melancholy that it still feels like part of a whole with his usual work.
My favorite stories are what I like to call "kitchen sink" stories--they have a little bit of everything. When they want to be funny, they're hilarious. When they want to be suspenseful, you're on the edge of your seat, and so on. Great writers can do that, and I love when they swing for the fences.
I came here wondering how many people were going to nitpick your comment about Gibson being Canadian but perhaps I’m the only one... haha