JR is a work of genius that ranks just below the greatest novels in English in this century. As other reviewers have said, it is a comic and satiric masterpiece. It also has passages of lacerating sadness--for example, Gibbs, Eigen and, one senses, Bast are profoundly depressing examples of youthful promise turned or turning very sour. For all its undeniable brilliance of insight and technique, however, I think JR falls slightly short of the best work of authors such as Joyce, Conrad, or Faulkner. Its major points about American capitalism and culture, though convincing, are not revelatory, and the book does not illuminate, explain or express human experience in quite the transcendent way that, say, Ulysses, Heart of Darkness or Absolam, Absolam (sp?) do. Still, after a little tough sledding early on, JR is an absolute joy to read and fully deserves all the praise accorded it.