Books: Apocalypse in the Living Room CARPENTER'S GOTHIC

CARPENTER'S GOTHIC by William Gaddis; Viking; 262 pages; $16.95

William Gaddis is the author of The Recognitions, a massive 30-year-old novel noted for its high style and erudite handling of religion and art. The book has been compared with Joyce's Ulysses and Gide's The Counterfeiters and credited with inspiring Thomas Pynchon's V. Yet as the novel's reputation grew, its author seemed to vanish. For 20 years Gaddis taught, lived on grants and wrote literature for business and industry: annual reports, speeches for executives, memorandums. In 1975 he reappeared with JR, a lengthy, knowledgeable satire about an eleven-year-old boy who becomes a corporate tycoon. JR won that year's National Book Award...

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