Have you read Women and Men by Joseph McElroy? I have tried twice, the second time was a buddy read that should have given me the encouragement and the discussion I needed to make it through all 1192 oversized and densely printed pages. McEloy’s other novels, although slightly shorter, were also difficult, demanding reads and I got through those (well, I still have one or two to go). What is it about McElroy’s Women and Men in particular that results in so many readers abandoning his fiction.
Here is what is printed on the back cover of Women and Men:
Beginning in childbirth and entered like a multiple dwelling in motion, Women and Men embraces and anatomizes the 1970s in New York—from experiments in the chaotic relations between the sexes to the flux of the city itself. Yet through an intricate overlay of scenes, voices, fact, and myth, this expanding fiction finds its way also across continents and into earlier and future times and indeed the Earshot reveal connections between the most disparate lives and systems of feeling and power. At its breathing heart, it plots the fugue like and fiendlike densities of late-twentieth century life.