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The essential New York author writing now

Laura Miller, Greil Marcus and John Freeman debate their picks.

By Drew Toal
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Michael Miller, Books editor:
"Joan Didion's nonfiction writing—her essay collections, her criticism in The New York Review of Books and The Year of Magical Thinking—is stylish, calmly fierce and insightful, whether she's analyzing broad political issues or individual human beings. No other living New York writer has meant more to so many people I know."

Michael Miller, Books editor:
"Joan Didion's nonfiction writing—her essay collections, her criticism in The New York Review of Books and The Year of Magical Thinking—is stylish, calmly fierce and insightful, whether she's analyzing broad political issues or individual human beings. No other living New York writer has meant more to so many people I know."

John Freeman, editor of Granta and author of The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox:
"Edmund White. His Farewell Symphony and his new one, City Boy. Like so many of the city's great observers, he came here from the Midwest. In his books you see the wonderful fantasia of the place from afar, the fury of its energy, and then as he becomes a New Yorker it deepens into a richer portrait."

Laura Miller, author of The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia:
"Despite its reputation as a pitiless Valhalla reserved for the financially victorious, Manhattan is still full of forgotten little cubbyholes where strange characters have squirreled themselves away, consumed by eccentric quests. Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City is the only novel I've seen that really does justice to this aspect of the metropolis. "

Rick Moody, author of The Ice Storm:
"My choice is Ben Marcus, because I want the English language to do things it hasn't done before, and I want American fiction to do things it hasn't done before, and I want to be in a state of arrest at the moment of gazing upon a page of text, and Ben is one of those very few writers who can do that for me."

Greil Marcus, coeditor of A New Literary History of America:
"I read a lot of Ed White's City Boy standing up in a Barnes & Noble yesterday, and if really thoughtful, layered, dish-best-eaten-cold gossip isn't New York writing, what is? White has a true sense of city—whether with this or his Paris book, The Flaneur—so I'll go with him without looking back."

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