Irony and Audience in the Novels of Paul Auster, Don DeLillo, Charles Johnson, and Tim O'Brien
Routledge – 2005 – 260 pages
This book provides a wide-ranging discussion of realism, postmodernism, literary theory and popular fiction before focusing on the careers of four prominent novelists. Despite wildly contrasting ambitions and agendas, all four grow progressively more sympathetic to the expectations of a mainstream literary audience, noting the increasingly neglected yet archetypal need for strong explanatory narrative even while remaining wary of its limitations, presumptions, and potential abuses. Exploring novels that manage to bridge the gap between accessible storytelling and literary theory, this book shows how contemporary authors reconcile values of posmodern literary experimentation and traditional realism.
Christopher Donovan is Dean of Gregory College House at the University of Pennsylvania, where he lectures in the departments of English and Critical Writing and oversees residential programs in Modern Languages and Film Culture.