Please people, does anyone know books and authors who meet the following criteria:

  • modern (written after 1950)
  • not depressing to the point of no hope
  • with hope at least at the end of the tunnel
  • not a short story
  • preferably with fantasy or sci-fi elements, but not necessary
  • high-quality writing (not Paulo Coelho or other bestseller writers whose style is not the greatest literary achievement)
  • psychological (human nature and how it deals with things at the centre, not cardboard characters)
  • alive, engaging (not dry, bookish, academic, measured, unemotional) (i.e. not like Carson McCullers or A. S. Byatt, to give examples)


I’ve spent hours digging for such a writer and the closest I got was Ray Bradbury but he too does not meet all criteria.

After a few more hours, the new favourite is Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth, which only fails to meet one criterion. I’d have liked something with a bit of in-depth digging into the characters’ minds and souls, but obviously, can’t be had in that genre.


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