Prufrock's Page

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Literary Fallout Of 9/11

"Struggling to define cultural otherness, DeLillo, Updike and Amis fail to recognise that belief and ideology remain the unseen and overwhelming forces behind gaudy fantasies about virgins. Assembled from jihad-mongering journalism and propaganda videos and websites, their identikit terrorists make Conrad's witheringly evoked revolutionaries in The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes look multidimensional." That's Pankaj Mishra's harsh assessment of post-9/11 novels, which goes on to assert: "...most of the literary fiction that self-consciously addresses 9/11 still seems underpinned by outdated assumptions of national isolation and self-sufficiency". He outlines other authors and books that those seeking "a capacious moral vision in contemporary American literature" would be well-advised to turn to: Jennifer Egan's Look At Me, Rattawut Lapcharoensap's Sightseeing, Nell Freudenberger's Lucky Girls, Norman Rush's Mortals, for example.


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