And then there are those few works that stand apart, whose magnificence break through the canopy of greatness and soar to amazing heights, works that ravish me, amaze me, terrify me, thrill me to the depths of my soul. You probably have a few like that as well. For me they would be “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville, “Absalom, Absalom!” by William Faulkner, “Gravity’s Rainbow” by Thomas Pynchon, and “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez. The first two grew out of my high school and college years, and the latter two I encountered as a somewhat mature adult. Each one could be considered the Great American Novel, as long as we let that label embrace the Southern Hemisphere as well as the Northern.
It is no accident, I think, that all are American.