I am in the process of watching the fifth and last season of the remarkable HBO series, The Wire. For me, it’s one of the best things ever done in the medium, and knowing there are no more to follow leaves me looking for a great big messy jaded city novel to sink myself into. Others have already made this comparison, but The Wire was really like a novel in David Simon’s willingness to take time to let the story unfold through detours into minor and major characters, to move up and down the social strata, to delve into intrigues high and low.
But what can one novels compare to The Wire? I can think of a few: Bleak House, at least in its span of social class and its unforgettable opening description of London; some of Zola’s Paris novels, such as Money. Mark Smith’s loose baggy monster Chicago novel, The Death of the Detective. I recently devoured a pretty good novel, William L. White’s What People Said, with a similar range but in the far tamer setting of several Kansas towns of the early 20th century.
But I’m putting out a call to other readers: can you offer some other suggestions? There must be a few more juicy word-packed book that can compete with the likes of The Wire.