"An Introduction to Contemporary American Fiction" introduces the work of a range of American authors, all of whom can be said to engage with postmodernism: Don DeLillo; Paul Auster; Cormac McCarthy; Relando Hinojosa; E. Annie Proulx; Bret Easton Ellis; Douglas Coupland; and Thomas Pynchon. The overarching theme is an exploration of the current vitality and energy of contemporary writing in light of pessimistic proclamations on the state of postmodern American culture, and of the tension between "realistic" description and linguistic self-consciousness in contemporary fiction. As an introductory text for both American Studies and English Literature students, it assumes no prior knowledge of the authors or the novels discussed. To encourage understanding, an annotated guide to further reading, glossary of literary terms, lists of key areas for further study, boxed "capsules" identifying organizing themes and ideas, and a thematic author index are all included.
Alan Bilton is Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Wales, Swansea and editor of The American 1920s: Literary Sources and Documents (2001).