I want your advice

At the end of this month, Fist is going part-time in his office job. In the extra time, Fist is going to pursue a career in writing - of fiction, probably. Fist is seeking advice on what's good in contemporary fiction, to see what the competition is like, that kind of thing. Fist has tended to avoid contemporary fiction, largely because most of it looks rubbish. Tell Fist why he's wrong in the comments box below.

BUT, please only suggest books if you have similar tastes to Fist or have read widely and are thus qualified. The below are examples of Fist-taste in prose.

Fistingly great:

Sherlock Holmes stories
Lolita - Nabokov
Dubliners - Joyce
Chekhov's short stories
First 4/5ths of Jane Austen novels
Kingsley Amis letters
Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriella Garcia Marquez

Ok by Fist:

The Corrections - Franzen
Catcher in the Rye - Salinger
Ian McEwan
Madame Bovary - Flaubert
Italo Calvino

Should get fisted:

Portrait of the Artist - Joyce
Last 1/5th of Jane Austen novels
Philip Roth
Don DeLillo
Kingsley Amis novels
Martin Amis
Iain Banks
Terry Pratchett
Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriella Garcia Marquez
Margarat Atwood, and up the crapper too.

The next post will feature a short story by Fist from a while back, if you're curious about that. Normal service will resume on Friday.