The recently deceased British novelist penned her 1962 opus The Golden Notebook about a writer who attempts to record various aspects of her life — historical, romantic, political — and weave them together into one story. If Franco couldn't get through Infinite Jest, this might not be the novel for him, but he'd surely appreciate Lessing's David Foster Wallace-like narrative hopscotch.
If Franco likes the creepy postwar suburbias and WASPy characters of questionable morals cooked up by John Cheever, he'll dig Patrica Highsmith's psychological thrillers. She was, after all, responsible for Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley, but her second (and pseudonymously published) novel, The Price of Salt is her hidden gem.
Kathy Acker styled herself as a literary pirate — lifting words from the works of famous male authors and appropriating them for her own use in her experimental novels, which are infused with sex and punk bravura. If Franco likes William S. Burroughs, he'll love Acker's collage technique.
Take Borges' magical realism and blend it into one of the most powerful novels about love and slavery that's ever been written, and you'll have Beloved. Sure, Franco probably read it in high school or at Tisch, but it still deserves a mention.
Two words: Bad Behavior. Gaitskill's debut short story collection is full of sex, drugs, and debauchery, but not in some macho, romanticized way. Instead, they'll give Franco nightmares.