Jason's Reviews > J R

J R by William Gaddis
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 11, 2012

it was amazing
Read from July 30 to August 11, 2012

A profoundly disorienting masterwork by one of the giants of American literature (here unquestionably at his most giant), JR is a novel like no other. It builds a whole world within the world and circuitously navigates its specific topography in a free-floating, wordy, and darkly comic gymnasium of form. JR is composed almost entirely of unattributed dialogue which is highly stylized; it is totally literary and sui generis even as its mimics the stop-start quality and gramatalogical incongruencies of spoken real-world language. I picked up JR years ago and was unable to stick w/ it. I put it down a few hundred pages in, exhausted by the unbroken profusion of run-on verbiage and the obscurely shifting locations and characters. Reading it a second time I still found myself lost on occasion, some times for tens of pages at a time, but was able to appreciate that this sensation mirrors what many of the characters themselves are experiencing. Even when lost, the reader is endlessly redirected by Gaddis to profound realizations and Eureka-like revelations concerning the world of the book in all of its interconnected density. It is such a manifold vision that the fact that the book takes its names from only one of its characters (albeit one around whose ponzi-like business enterprise the book gradually begins to center everything) seems to do it a disservice. Every character is rich and semantically unique. As JR himself might say: Holy, what a book! The seminal novel of American late-market capitalism.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read J R.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.