As part of NPR's "You Must Read This" series, author Nathan Englander suggests reading Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son:
Someone — I can't remember who, and don't remember when — gave me a Xeroxed copy of the first story, "Car Crash While Hitchhiking."
It was your workshop professor, genius.
He says quite frankly, "And you, you ridiculous people, you expect me to help you." But we do, Denis Johnson, we do.
I always read that as Johnson giving the reader the finger.
Seriously, this book is a must-read. It is as essential on your shelf of American Fiction as Hemingway's short stories or anything by Raymond Carver. If you haven't already, read Denis Johnson. You will not like everything he writes and sometimes you feel like he is pulling back down a dark hole that you already climbed out of at least once in your life, but he opens up storytelling in ways previously unseen.