a Shandean novel, digressive, essayistic, wrongfooting the reader with gaps and anticlimaxes, tantalizing her with hints of amorous entanglements that are never confirmed, indulging in authorial reminiscences, describing places and crowds in exhaustive lists of minute particulars, the verbal equivalent of a Breughel painting . . .
Ian McEwan pays tribute to Bradbury
Malcolm's attraction to Diderot as a character, which lured him well away from his usual fictional territory, was no doubt in part an identification with the Frenchman's total dedication to the life of the mind and the profession of letters, his readiness to turn his hand to any literary task in a variety of forms and genres