For George Saunders, crisis is often a foregone conclusion, a reality of everyday life. Social mores and idealistic principles prove flimsy, as disaster and defeat become the glue that increasingly holds people together.
The over-presence of other people’s personal thoughts creates such a confounding compendium of other imagined subjectivities that thinking becomes exhausting. If only we could think alone.
From whence does this plot point spring? Why do we thrill at it? Why do we find it so emotionally taut, so satisfying? Hot for teacher taps into all the taboos that make our kinks work.
In those gaps the whistle of a rustling ‘s’ comes through, a vowel remains too open, or not open enough, a sound is distorted, ‘gh’ and ‘f’ and then ‘i’ and ‘y’ get all mixed up.
Having outside information easily available means I’m going to reference it, which in turn means I’m interrupting the actual text of the novel regularly to seek out more information on that text…which sounds suspiciously similar to the way I read news articles and blogs on the internet.
Our fiction — great mirror that it should be —- stares down the reader’s demands as to contemporary realism. Three recent novels — Night Film, Zadie Smith’s NW, and Tao Lin’s Taipei — are called on to catch up, or gracefully decline to keep pace at all.
Aesthetic beauty, or its opposite, plays seemingly no role in the strict objectivity of scientific discourse. Art invents, science discovers. And yet, this is of course not really true at all.
Our anticipation of the coming catastrophe leaks from the walls, gasping with the skidding wheels of the passing trains that shift us, lumpen, from platform to platform.