America Re-Imagined, in Retrospect: Fifty Notable American Novels about the “West”: 1-2

ACADEME BLOG

Berger, Thomas.  Little Big Man.  New York: Dial, 1964.

Thomas Berger had such a long and productive career that it is a mystery why he is not routinely included in discussions of the great American novelists of the second half of the twentieth century.  One of the highlights of his career was the critical reception given to his novel Little Big Man and the critical and commercial success of its film adaptation, starring Dustin Hoffman and, literally, a cast of thousands.  Unfortunately, readers coming to Berger’s other work through Little Big Man probably have had the expectation that most, if not all, of his work is just as wryly comic.  It is not, and the failed film adaptation of his novel Neighbors illustrates the hazards in trying to reduce the many strange moods of his novels to a single type of comic note.  In fact, the tone of the…

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