"..can we see any inkling of a presumptive heir
to Bellow or Updike orNabokov, or to so many others of
the previous generation (the list would be long and
impressive) who have left a formative mark on American
One sign, or omen, would be the presence of a writer of formidable language power, willing to use all the sources and resources of American prose; instead, we swim in a welter of the slipshod easy vernacular. Also absent, so far, is some overriding feeling or idea, or, at the least, something larger than pipsqueak cynicism. Finally, given that the country is roiling and boiling toward some unknown new dispensation grounded in narrow competing triumphalist claims, where is the bold and necessary ironist who will write our Death of Ivan Ilyich? "