After 7 years this great novel is finally out in paperback
(Meridian, $2.75 at all bookstores).
"The Recognitions" is a 956-page novel whose main theme is
vanity or forgeryof Old Masters, $20 bills, slings,
personality, everything. It is like a painting with a few
primary figures presented in depth and an army of caricatures
in the background. The main characters are unforgettable and,
as is usually true, give the book most of its greatness. The
minor characters, including the author himself who has a bit
part, are very funny.
Like "Ulysses," Gaddis's book can be read the first time with
enjoyment (my advice: don't work at it) and then reread for
years with increasing fascination. It has an intricate network
of thousands of cross-references which give it a unique
time-sense: as the connections are gradually recognized on
rereading, the book appears to grow like a living being.
The writing itself is excellent. Gutless readers who prefer
judging characters to being judged by them are advised to
stay away from Wyatt and Esme.
"The Recognitions" sold like cold cakes in hardcover because
of stupid reviews by the incompetent, amateurish critics.
Everyone "knows" the critics are no good, but everyone believes
them anyway. For an antidote, I offer my article "fire the
bastards!" (Part 1 is issue no. 12 of "newspaper.") It's a
detailed analysis of the antics of the "Recognitions" reviewers,
on sale at Village bookstores. Or mail me a quarter for it.
A dollar for issues no. 12-15. $5.00 for issues no. 1-20.
New York 12