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I've either read or have most of these on my 'to read' list but your suggestion of Perestroika made me think of an author you might find enjoyable: Bernard Malamud. Malamud got me interested in writing and the creative process. His collection of short stories, The Magic Barrel, was revelatory. His writing is often magical and Smiley's novel reminds me of Malamud's short story, "Talking Horse". Malamud often writes about human freedom -- which, one would think, is especially relevant today -- and in the story, the main character, Abramowitz, asks himself in the first sentence: “Am I a man in a horse or a horse that talks like a man?"

Alas, no one reads Malamud anymore. His 1966 novel The Fixer was awarded both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. He was also awarded the 1959 National Book Award for The Magic Barrel. Since 1988, the PEN/Malamud Award recognizes excellence in the art of the short story.

If anyone recognizes him today, it's likely from the credits in the movie The Natural, based on his book of the same name (although his ending was completely different).

Here's The Stories of Bernard Malamud, published in 1986, with a whopping six reviews on Amazon, Best Sellers ranked #125,768 in Literary Fiction:


An interview of the author is The Paris Review:
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