Over at The American Scene, my blog-colleague Matt Feeney makes a case for Infinite Jest not unlike the one made in the comments on an earlier post here. Read and digest.


  1. Your article on Jonathan Franzen for The American Scene was not open for comments so I'm hitting you up here: you seem to be saying that in the new contemporary fiction there's a question about the "suitability" of "ordinary people" as subjects for a novel.

    Quite different from the "old" writers like Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Flaubert, and so on — who somehow were able to take plain 'ole folks and make them fascinating.

    Why are recent writers so different on this?

  2. I'm not sure how "ordinary" those characters in 19th century fiction were. They were economically and socially ordinary, but they had powerful and distinctive personalities. Not so the Berglunds.

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