The American Novel Now: Reading Contemporary American Fiction Since 1980

Overview

"Contemporary American fiction since 1980 is known for its remarkable liveliness, diversity, and rigor, The American Novel Now navigates this exciting and vast terrain, offering a symptomatic reading of contemporary American fiction that considers both mainstream and experimental writing from over seventy different authors and novels. Featured authors include Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, Louise Erdrich, Don Delillo, Richard Powers, Kathy Acker, and many more." The book explores a wide range of themes offered in the wealth of contemporary

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Overview

"Contemporary American fiction since 1980 is known for its remarkable liveliness, diversity, and rigor, The American Novel Now navigates this exciting and vast terrain, offering a symptomatic reading of contemporary American fiction that considers both mainstream and experimental writing from over seventy different authors and novels. Featured authors include Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, Louise Erdrich, Don Delillo, Richard Powers, Kathy Acker, and many more." The book explores a wide range of themes offered in the wealth of contemporary American fiction, including identity, history, family, nation, and aesthetics, as well as cultural movements, styles, and narrative strategies. The American Novel Now provides an excellent guide for those who wish to be introduced to the contexts, vitality, and diversity of the contemporary American novel over the last thirty years.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this extremely accessible discussion, O'Donnell (Michigan StateUniv.) reveals his as an authoritative voice on novels from the1980s 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 themainstream commercial presses and less visible, often experimentalwork published by independent presses." He looks at work from morethan 70 authors, including central figures of the American literarycanon—Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, Louise Erdrich, and DonDeLillo, to name only a few. O'Donnell divides the book (and hisapproach) 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 thefuture of the novel." This is a comprehensive discussion of thenovel and present circumstances influencing it—an interestingstudy on many levels." (CHOICE, December 2010)

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405167550
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/16/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick O'Donnell is Professor of English and American Literature at Michigan State University, where he served as department chair from 1997 to 2007. He has written and edited a number of books and collections on contemporary American fiction and film, including Latent Destinies: Cultural Paranoia in Contemporary U.S. Fiction (2000), Echo Chambers: Figuring Voice in Modern Narrative (1992), Passionate Doubts: Designs of Interpretation in Contemporary American Fiction (1986), and New Essays on The Crying of Lot 49 (edited, 1991). He is an associate editor of The Columbia History of the American Novel (1991), a former editor of Modern Fiction Studies, and a co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century American Fiction (forthcoming from Wiley-Blackwell).

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Before 1980

Pt. II From New Realisms to Postmodernism

"This American Life"

"Dirty Realisms"

Only Wor(l)ds

Magnifying Reality

Multiplying Genre

Pt. III Becoming Identities

Reinventing Character

Racing Identity

Engendering Narrative

Toward the Posthuman

Pt. IV What Happened to History?

The Past is Prologue

Tunneling In

Imagining Epoch

Another History

Narrating Vietnam

Catastrophe: The Ends of History

Pt. V Relations Stopping Nowhere

The Postnuclear Family

The Reach of Community

From There to Here: Migration and Nation

Epilogue

Notes

References

Index

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