Two innovative contemporary writers discuss the relationship between encyclopedic narrative and notions of gender and writing, the body as the physical embodiment of memory, and the unique syntax of Tillman's American Genius, a Comedy. The novel's prose depicts the way "thought, when you're not thinking, happens."
"Like skin, the comma both connects and divides." Peter Nicholls traces Tillman's endlessly subordinating, endlessly equivocating sentences, showing how their quest for historical and social clarity passes through an interminable sequence of deferral and denial.
Contrasting Lynne Tillman's text with the "complicitous critique" of Donald Barthelme and other postmodern ironists, Sue-Im Lee argues that Tillman's narration displays the "mobility" of Adornian cultural criticism, in which contradiction is not a problem but a mode of interrogating the present.