Which five working novelists would make up your current all star basketball team? Two should guard the traditional form, two should move the form forward, the fifth should straddle the center and move easily between both approaches.
My guards? John Irving & Richard Russo - traditional storytellers with an excellent ear for dialogue and affection for their characters. Forwards? Toni Morrison & Jennifer Egan - discursive, imaginative, contemporary, fearless. The center? Philip Roth - a startling mix of profane and tender, difficult and endearing, small "p" and large "p" political. I've spent a lot of time with four of these authors. Egan made the cut based on "A Visit From The Goon Squad" (2010) but that novel alone persuades me she's all star material.
Will I score points with sports fans using this all star model? Should I run further with it? Or did I already strike out with excessive puns?