Monday, February 2, 2009

Socially engaged fiction

Some novels that are extremely political and extremely fine: here is a mere brief list off the top of my head and in no particular order, consisting entirely of well known books written in English that I have read.
The plot, as they say, thickens. It seems that not only are reactionary or anti-struggle books praised by the U.S. literary establishment despite its oft-stated view that literature and politics are antithetical. Progressive, though not revolutionary, fiction that directly and explicitly takes on great social questions can be and often is well received. This is also, or even more, the case when it comes to translated fiction, especially from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, about which I hope to comment more soon.

It's so obvious that the anti-political-literature case is not truly believed even by those who argue for it that I won't belabor the point further. The issue, then, becomes why they keep saying it. And what they really mean.

To be continued.