The Engineer of Human Souls - Josef Škvorecký
A description of this novel can give some idea of the various materials it's woven together from, but won't mention any of the large gallery of riotous, pathetic, human characters. Any book as full as this one -- telling only part of the protagonist's life but suggesting that there's much more; moving through three or more levels of time at once; incorporating the letters of many characters in a way that never feels irrelevant; including, as well, the reading of American literature, illuminated by (and illuminating) real life -- is like an eventful journey, into a territory that I for one did not want to leave.

Caveat for readers: There is a fair bit of untranslated German in this book, which may make a few scenes hard to understand. Also, it is annoying that the editors chose to leave all diacritic marks off Czech names.