THE BOOK YOU HAVE TO READ | EW.com

Books

THE BOOK YOU HAVE TO READ

Howard Norman recommends Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon (Owl, $17)

On a recent train journey, I re-read Mason & Dixon. Having first read it upon publication in 1997, I’d since experienced a profound nostalgia for Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, surveyors and fellow travelers, exquisitely drawn characters. In its prodigiousness of incident, emotional demographics, arc of history, Mason & Dixon is the boldest act of literary imagination I’ve encountered. Nobel Prize committee (who passed up Conrad and Twain), please note: Mason & Dixon–decidedly not an allegory but a tapestry of indelible realism–enriches literature.

Howard Norman is the author of The Bird Artist and The Museum Guard. FSG recently published his new novel, The Haunting of L.