nearly 6 months later I see this…
I finished Dhalgren in April, as well. I admit for the first half I was sort of wondering what the point to it all was… but the last half – especially the last couple of hundred pages – were amazing.
Like, you had to read 500 pages to get to that point, and it wouldn’t have worked without all that preamble, but if you made it that far, it suddenly starts to feel really profound.
A work of somewhat-flawed genius.
Recommended to anyone who likes to be challenged, is prepared to allow themselves to be confused, will accept or enjoy gratuitous gender-indiscriminate sex and is patient enough to read 500 pages of at-least-interesting stuff to get to the “oh, wow, yeah” bits.
Also helps to understand what it represented at the time. From one review: “a molotov cocktail thrown at the police line of contemporary SF”.
As suggested from another review: “put on some King Crimson/Iron Butterfly and just power through.”
“… to wound the autumnal city.”