Saddened to see that you're abandoning Vollman, but you're right that it's huge and intense. Vollman tends towards huge and intense as a rule. I tend to read his chapters as miniature works of literature in their own right. He has written some short stuff: The Atlas, Rainbow Stories, Whores for Gloria. If you're interested in the series of which Fathers and Crows is a part, check out The Ice-Shirt or The Rifles. I found The Rifles a little easier to read, but his whole attitude towards women can be off-putting, and The Rifles is fairly indicative of it.
Anyway, I guess this means I get my copy of F&C back :)