I did not understand the appeal of Richler when I read him in school, later as an adult it made more sense. Now in my 40s reading him reaches so much deeper. I'm expecting even more as I age and reread.
Neal Stephenson is a great writer, this series will suck you in fast. One warning, it is a bit too long and can get bogged down in spots yet you are still compelled to keep reading. Very rewarding read.