"More impressively comprehensive than encyclopedic, Patrick O'Donnell does not try to cover every literary novel published in the last thirty years, but instead offers a broad critical overview of contemporary US fiction in terms that make The American Novel Now more than just a survey". (The Journal of American Studies, 2011)
"In this extremely accessible discussion, O'Donnell (Michigan State Univ.) reveals his as an authoritative voice on novels from the 1980s to present. His selections are, by his own admission, eclectic: he writes in the introduction that he "chose to discuss, where appropriate, both widely read novels published by the mainstream commercial presses and less visible, often experimental work published by independent presses." He looks at work from more than 70 authors, including central figures of the American literary canon--Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon, Louise Erdrich, and Don DeLillo, to name only a few. O'Donnell divides the book (and his approach) into five distinctive parts, discussing, respectively, work leading to the 1980s; realism and experimentation; identity, as it pertains to character--gender, ethnicity, and so on; historicity and "end times"; and social emergence within the novel. All this leads to an intriguing "excursus that speculates on the future of the novel." This is a comprehensive discussion of the novel and present circumstances influencing it--an interesting study on many levels." (CHOICE, December 2010)
"The American Novel Now provides an accessible introduction to the many strands of post-1980 American fiction." (TLS, June 2010)
"O'Donnell's authoritative organization of the field, capacious discussions of individual novels, and lucid prose will provide readers-from advanced students to the broad general audience for contemporary writing- with an engaging, judicious, and vastly well-informed survey of the American novel since 1980. In this invaluable new guide to the populous domain of contemporary US fiction O'Donnell brilliantly charts multiple tracks through hundreds of novels, identifying common aesthetic, social, and historical concerns through the period. Reflecting O'Donnell's expertise as one of the field’s leading specialists, this is a confident, evolved, and utterly reliable consideration of one of the liveliest eras for fiction in the nation's history. Readers will be grateful for it."
—John T. Matthews, Boston University