The American Novel Now: Reading Contemporary American Fiction Since 1980

The American Novel Now: Reading Contemporary American Fiction Since 1980

Author(s): Patrick O'Donnell

Print ISBN: 9781405167574

Online ISBN: 9781444317893

DOI: 10.1002/9781444317893


"In this extremely accessible discussion, O'Donnell (Michigan State Univ.) reveals his as an authoritative voice on novels from the 1980s to present. His selections are, by his own admission, eclectic: he writes in the introduction that he "chose to discuss, where appropriate, both widely read novels published by the mainstream commercial presses and less visible, often experimental work published by independent presses." He looks at work from more than 70 authors, including central figures of the American literary canon--Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, Louise Erdrich, and Don DeLillo, to name only a few. O'Donnell divides the book (and his approach) into five distinctive parts, discussing, respectively, work leading to the 1980s; realism and experimentation; identity, as it pertains to character--gender, ethnicity, and so on; historicity and "end times"; and social emergence within the novel. All this leads to an intriguing "excursus that speculates on the future of the novel." This is a comprehensive discussion of the novel and present circumstances influencing it--an interesting study on many levels." (CHOICE, December 2010)

"The American Novel Now provides an accessible introduction to the many strands of post-1980 American fiction." (TLS, June 2010)