I’ll leave it up for you to decide whether the novel lives up to its extensive praise. For my part, despite the book being outside my literary comfort zone, I did see what made it so ground-breaking and so influential. It was worth the read — as long as the graphic violence (including sexual violence) is something that you can tolerate as a reader.
If you haven’t heard of James M. Cain, you’ve most certainly heard of the films based on his work. Cain is a master at creating a feeling of disgusted disillusionment in his many horrible and fractured characters.
Looking at this book as being about a generation as whole is not really the way to get a complete picture of it nor of the statement it makes.
Something to note about Ligotti: You have to expect to think. Sometimes, when I’m in the mood for a horror story, I’ll pick up a collection and know that I’m reading a good yarn that is just and only that. But Ligotti interweaves an existential dread into his stories and concepts that keep you thinking long after the story ends. This is a review of Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe.