Ove's journey will not only take you out of your own story, educing a compassion for the Oves in your own life, but will also cause you to reflect on the limited time you have in your own story.
Godric surprises us because, though he is a saint and in himself a pilgrimage destination, he is crass. At the same time, though he is irreverent, he speaks of grace and purity in that far off and imminent way that lets us glimpse for a moment the beauty we know we were made for, but have never seen.
Patrick Rothfuss teaches us about the tough realities of life through Kvothe and, with careful comparisons, we gain hope for where we stand amongst our own difficulties.
East of Eden is a true friend to its readers. It does not hide the ugly truth, nor does it bury you in tragedy and darkness. Steinbeck carefully teaches his reader to learn the balance of life – this living in the tension of darkness and light, vice and virtue, despair and hope. East of Eden gives the truth of life under the sun.
Gilead is devastating and beautiful in every chapter. A blazing fire and light and brilliance and tempest, that the reader must shield their conscience, trembling with fear and hope that the book could possibly pull off the literary trick of transcending even its own beauty in the final pages.
Flannery O'Connor's stories concern humans stumbling upon unmitigated truth in the most dire of circumstances: grace.
Watership Down is as true as they come. It’s an adventure story: the struggle of rabbits in exile, seeking a new homeland. Some of them are cranky. Some are brave. They wound each other and risk their lives for one another. They laugh and love and tell stories. They’re living, breathing characters, and inside of their crucible they have plenty of honest things to say.
The primary principle of creative writing is to make, not describe. And this is also the essence of what makes a novel poetic. Beyond the Bedroom Wall acts upon us through its poetry, giving us the sense that we are not so much hearing the Neumillers' story as we are living it with them.
It’s particularly noteworthy that it not only avoids over-romanticizing the lead character into a flawless personification of justice, but he also succeeds in making it distinctly western, American. Imagine the difficulty of this task in his era as a Scot! In other words, it’s realistic and convincing Wild West material. Twists that fundamentally change the game after it has started can be brutish at worst and mildly annoying at best, but Conan Doyle’s twists in The Valley of Fear engage the reader in a way that improves the story rather than dragging it through the mud. This approach doesn’t just take the reader for a ride, but takes them on an enjoyable ride at that.