“Thomas Berger’s novels exhibit an extraordinary comic sensibility, a satiric talent for wild caricature, and a concern for the quality of middle-class life in middle America. His novels chronicle the decline and fall of the Common Man in 20th-century America and meticulously detail the absurdities of our civilizations. Berger is one of the subtlest and most accurate parodists writing today, with a flawless sense of style and proportion that is charged with comic vitality.”
– William J. Schafer, Contemporary Novelists
Thomas Berger was born and raised just outside Cincinnati, but he left for New York City shortly after graduating from college, and never again lived in Ohio. “I never liked Cincinnati when I lived there. I love it now,” Berger said, ten years after the move.
Similarly, while Thomas Berger is well enough liked for his most popular novels such as Little Big Man, Neighbors, and The Feud, he might not be loved in his lifetime. Although many critics liken Berger to Mark Twain, H.L. Mencken and Philip Roth, they also claim that he doesn’t get the attention he deserves.
Isa Kapp wrote in the New Republic: “It is a mystery of literary criticism, that Thomas Berger, one of the most ambitious, versatile, and entertaining of contemporary novelists, is hardly ever mentioned in the company of America’s major writers. He is a wit, a fine caricaturist, and his prose crackles with Rabelaisian vitality.