If you were limited to one author, whose work would you choose?
I'd pick Robertson Davies. The first of his Deptford trilogy, Fifth Business, may be the best thing I've ever read. Here's a taste;
These petitioners had no conception of art; to them a picture was a symbol of something else, and very readily the symbol became the reality. They were untouched by modern education, but their government was striving with might and main to procure this inestimable benefit from them; anticlericalism and American bustle would soon free them from belief in miracles and holy likenesses. But where, I ask myself, will mercy and divine compassion come from then? Or are such things necessary to people who are well fed and know the wonders that lie concealed in an atom? I don't regret economic and educational advance; I just wonder how much we shall have to pay for it, and in what coin.The next two volumes, The Manticore and World of Wonders are also delicious.
He later wrote another series known as The Cornish Trilogy. The first of this set, Rebel Angels, is by far the best, although the next two, What's Bred in the Bone and The Lyre of Orpheus are quite delightful as well.
I'm not sure I can identify why I enjoy Davies so much. Maybe because he is an unapologetic Jungian. Or maybe because one of his stock characters is an Anglican priest who has lost his faith and now teaches Greek at a boarding school.
I have another favorite, another American novelist, who I believe no one can surpass in regards to character development. I'm not going to mention his name, because he is considered so pedestrian, unless someone can guess who it is; only then will I confess to being such an intellectual lightweight.
Who's your all time favorite author? Care to attempt to identity my American mystery man?