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Holy madness

EL Doctorow’s fiction can be brutal in its depiction of bodily suffering. Yet he is just as interested in the strange workings of the human mind

By Joanna Kavenna   January 2014

Andrew’s Brain  by EL Doctorow (Little, Brown, £12.99)

EL Doctorow, whose career has spanned more than half a century, is often cited as one of the great postwar American novelists, named in ponderous critical lists along with Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, John Updike et al. These other writers, however, forged their reputations by scrutinising contemporary realities and toying with authorial personae or pseudo autobiography. Doctorow is more concerned with history and the fragile truths that lie within contested historical events. Many of his novels are set in the past. The March takes place in the 1860s, The Book of Daniel

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