Novelist: The Case For Thomas Pynchon

I should prefer Philip Roth. Roth, like me, is a Jew from New Jersey who pens embarrassingly explicit sexual confessions. But his prose is not poetry. He is not breaking new ground. He is not Thomas Pynchon.

Pynchon created epic modernism. He took the detail-saturated realism of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, removed it from the confining world of marriage problems and parental blame and everything else that has made novels so small, and used it as a lens for Greek-size tales.

His books are sloppy and convoluted, and parts of them often fail entirely, but that's only because of the...

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