FICTION Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon: technology and slapstick raised to the nth power.

Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow: a saline picaresque of American literary life.

Look at the Harlequins! by Vladimir Nabokov: the master's valedictory novel, with his customary flourishes and optical allusions.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: a South American village transformed by magic and time.

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow: the past imperfect, done with syncopation and high style.

Shosha by Isaac Bashevis Singer: the most recent novel by America's 1978 Nobel laureate for Literature.

The Stories of John Cheever by John...

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