My great literary hero was John Steinbeck and I’ve recently been re-reading the 1994 biography by Jay Parini. (ISBN 0434 574929)
I was struck once again by how Steinbeck’s early family experience influenced him all his life. He was deeply insecure about his work. There is much talk in his letters to friends about writing “the great American novel” or “the big book.”
That started me thinking about the idea of “the great novel”. The big book, the literary striving blood, sweat and tears, heart and soul BIG BOOK!