The Recognitions is an amazing work of literature, as funny as it is moving and as confounding as it is entertaining. Gaddis work is often compared to Thomas Pynchon, perhaps because of his tendency to mix absurd character names and slapstick comedy amidst serious situations. But whereas Pynchon's work is mostly plot driven, with characters simply providing the outlet for the author's ideas, Gaddis is brilliant at creating realistic characters whose words and ideas mainatin the momentum of the work.
In almost every passage of The Recognitions, there is some glorious pay off, some action or statement that you'll read again and again so as not to forget it, only to move on to the next passage and be more throroughly moved. Easily the most rewarding reading experience I have had in years.