Many moons ago, I left the comment "Animal Crackers!" over on Diana's inspiring blog and won a mystery prize. While some people have celebrity crushes, I have writer crushes... most notably Beckett and Paul Auster (who bear no small resemblance in work and appearance).
Diana sure knows her audience, because soon after that arrived Auster's Book of Illusions. Amazingly, this was the only Auster I didn't own. I tore through this book, not just because I relished every word of the story, but because its pace forces you ever onward. It's a very visual book, conjuring entire movies before your eyes and the narrative structure is brilliant, making it the reward for my answer, all seeming very meant to be...
Here's why I love Auster: He often takes classic American themes like movies or spy novels, sets his story in American cities, and engages in a very European philosophical style of story-telling; a style you might readily associate with continental writers like Beckett, Calvino, Kundera, even Kafka. But it's an appropriate method. Aren't writers metaphysical spies? Aren't we all a mystery to ourselves? His stories have layers and layers of complex ideas to return to, but also characters to love and a narrative to wholly absorb and transport.
Thanks Diana! You're the greatest.