Information about the author.
With the publication of the Recognitions in 1955, William Gaddis was hailed as the American heir to James Joyce. His two subsequent novels, J R (winner of the National Book Award) and Carpenter’s Gothic, have secured his position among America’s foremost contemporary writers.
Now A Frolic of His Own, his long-anticipated fourth novel, adds more luster to his reputation, as he takes on life in our litigious times. “Justice?—You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.” So begins this mercilessly funny, devastatingly accurate tale of lives caught up in the toils of the law.
Oscar Crease, middle-aged college instructor, savant, and playwright, is suing a Hollywood producer for pirating his play “Once at Antietam”, based on his grandfather’s experiences in the Civil War, and turning it into a gory blockbuster called…[more]
A satire of big business, in which an 11-year-old boy makes a fortune selling Navy surplus goods and uses the profits to set up his own corporation. Experimental in style, the book is largely narrated through conversations.
This story of raging comedy and despair centers on the tempestuous marriage of an heiress and a Vietnam veteran. From their “carpenter gothic” rented house, Paul sets himself up as a media consultant for Reverend Ude, an evangelist mounting a grand crusade that conveniently suits a mining combine bidding to take over an ore strike on the site of Ude’s African mission. At the still center of the breakneck action—revealed in Gaddis’s inimitable virtuoso dialoge—is Paul’s wife, Liz, and over it all looms the shadowy figure of McCandless, a geologist from whom Paul and Liz rent their house. As Paul mishandles the situation, his wife takes the geologist to her bed and a fire and aborted assassination occur; Ude issues a call to arms as harrowing as any Jeremiad—and Armageddon comes rapidly closer.
Displaying Gaddis’s inimitable virtuoso dialogue, and his startling treatments of violence and sexuality, Carpenter’s Gothic “shows again that Gaddis is among the first rank of contemporary American writers” (Malcolm Bradbury, The Washington Post Book World).