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"Oh, you bright and risen angels, you are all in your graves!"

William T. Vollmann's epic novel about electricity, bugs, How the West was Tamed, The Revolution, corporate America, computers, and many, many other things, all strung together in a way that really shouldn't make sense but all somehow does. The novel is narrated by a number of different figures, all warring for control of the narrative, as well as the course of the story itself, making it, at times, just a tiny bit difficult to parse out.

The most obvious and common comparison is to Thomas Pynchon, and specifically Gravity's Rainbow, but there are many areas where that comparison breaks down. What is the same is a dizzying, at times hallucinatory quality to the transitions and digressions of the text, and certain qualities of the language. What is different is the scope and direction of the novels; if Gravity's Rainbow could be said to be about the impersonal nature of destiny, You Bright and Risen Angels is about the limitlessly personal nature of injustice.

Give this one a chance. If you can't make it through, that's not really your fault, but if you can, you'll find it endlessly rewarding.

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