Novels and territory
Not so long ago I discovered that a large number of literary critics had addressed the following question:
Which are the best novels that have been published since the beginning of the millennium?
Their responses were aggregated and a list ordering the top twenty texts was then published.
So, I set about acquiring some of the books – but not all.
I have particularly enjoyed reading three of them. Which three? Well, it turns out they are all deeply connected with the USA. Each book also has a great title: They are:
The brief and wondrous life of Oscar Wao
A visit from the goon squad – and
Billy Lynn’s long half time walk.
Each book provides a scintillating ‘look’ at the culture of the USA – either directly or indirectly. And what a culture it is!
As far as I can tell it’s a world that exists almost solely in mediated reality. (It was always inclined to be absurd but it’s gone beyond absurdity. I’m not quite sure if there is a word for it.)
‘Billy Lynn’s long half time walk’ is perhaps the most revealing and devastating of the three novels. It shows just how difficult it has become to think clearly and ‘see’ beyond the veil of belief. And the source of those beliefs is primarily through the media. It’s a brilliant hatchet job.
In its way it’s all about emotion, lies and territory. Hence the photographs – little emblems of the way we are.