Postmodern novel as comic

Speaking of comic books, in a recent article for The Hindu, Rani Dharker asserts that many seminal “postmodern novels” are like today’s cartoons:

[Joseph Heller’s] Catch-22 is like an elongated comic book, a series of word cartoons, where no one would blink if an officer ordered a chair shot. Like a comic, it is full of wild improbable happenings, hysterical colonels, screaming majors, monadic characters obsessed with a single aspect of life, usually with something as trivial as marching.

I’m not sure I fully understand Dharker’s arguments, which extend to Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. I’m even less sure I agree with them.

But this seems like a good time to put in a word for Heller, who’s known only for Catch 22. My favorite Heller novel is God Knows, the story of Solomon as a bumbling fool, from the point of view of the Biblical King David.


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