In 2002, Jonathan Franzen published an essay in The New Yorker titled “Mr. Difficult,” in which he detailed his changing readerly relationship with William Gaddis—who had died in 1998—over the course of his own coming of age as a novelist. For a time, Mr. Franzen wrote, he was infatuated with writers who “shared the postmodern suspicion of realism” that he himself felt—or rather, felt obliged to feel—in the late ’80s and early ’90s. (Thomas Pynchon, Donald Barthelme and Robert Coover are just a few of the names checked alongside Gaddis’s.) A marathon reading of Gaddis’s novel The Recognitions got Mr. Franzen through what sounds like a fairly serious depression. Mr. Franzen titled his novel The Corrections partially in homage to The Recognitions, but when he later tried to read other Gaddis novels, he found that he didn’t want to, and—more importantly, at least to Mr. Franzen—he couldn’t bring himself to care that he didn’t want to. Older, perhaps wiser, and certainly more world-weary and pressed for time, he wasn’t interested in the brick-thick novels of mostly unattributed dialogue that constitute Mr. Gaddis’s other major works, JR (1975) and A Frolic of His Own (1994), both of which won the National Book Award. “Mr. Difficult” concludes with a bitter dismissal of The Rush for Second Place, a nonfiction collection, and Agape Agape, a very short novel, both published posthumously in 2002. For a younger generation of readers, it’s likely that Mr. Franzen’s epic kiss-off to “Mr. Difficult” was the first and only thing they ever heard about him. Read More
Rumor Roundup: An Uber Blunder, Tickets to Dick Costolo’s Gun Show, and David Karp Is Having the Best Week EverOMG, Don’t Stop: People of ‘Very Religious’ U.S. Cities Love PornYahoo! Can’t Stop Acquiring Companies, Now Wants Hulu
Ray Kelly’s Spokesman Says Kelly Clueless About Recent PollAnthony Weiner Parachutes Into the Queens Newspaper ScenePeter Vallone and John Liu May Form Unorthodox Alliance
Here Are the 2013 Frieze London and Frieze Masters Gallery ListsGalleristNY and The New York Observer in VenicePack Heavy for Your European Art Trip, Get Free Stuff
The Complete History of Amanda Bynes's BreakdownTo Do Friday: Top GunJonathan Martin Named Political Correspondent at The New York Times
Will Citi Bikes Be Even More Reviled Than Their Racks? Is That Even Possible?Snug Like a Bug With Panoramic East River Views: Paul Rudolph's Penthouse Finds a TenantCould a Mega Mansion Be In the Works On East 64th Street?
New York's Most Beloved Taxi DriversThe Complete History of Amanda Bynes's BreakdownThe Great GoogaMooga Leaves Bad Taste In Brooklyn
Rocco’s Tacos Signs for 14,500 Square Feet at 339 Adams Street in Downtown BKProtravel International Stays Grounded at 515 Madison AvenueFLSV Quadruples Office at 1359 Broadway