Books like JR


1993, William Gaddis


J R is a novel by William Gaddis published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1975. In the story, a schoolboy secretly amasses a fortune in penny stocks. J R won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1976. It was Gaddis' first novel since the 1955 publication of The Recognitions.

To complete the novel, Gaddis received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Excerpts of the work were published in The Dutton Review, Antaeus, and Harper's magazine.

J R tells the story of the eponymous J R Vansant, an 11-year-old schoolboy who obscures his identity through payphone calls and postal money orders in order to parlay penny stock holdings into a fortune on paper. The novel broadly satirizes what Gaddis called "the American dream turned inside out". One critic called it "the greatest satirical novel in American literature." Novelist Louis Auchincloss thought it "worthy of Swift."

Similar Books

If you like JR, you might also like: Remainder, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me, and The Pale King