If a state-of-the-nation novel is at risk of being outdated on the day of publication, there’s at least one way for a writer to avoid calamity. They could write a novel that doesn’t quite take place in the here and now, in the nation of today — a novel set in the future, but only marginally and perhaps only nominally.
Isn’t there something contradictory about the state-of-the-nation novel? If there’s any truth to Ezra Pound’s dictum that “literature is news that stays news”, then the state-of-the-nation novel is a vehicle for radicalism: it flirts with being rendered out of date before it even hits the shelves.
On the face of it, there are some similarities between The Tyranny of Lost Things and Patrick Langley’s Arkady. Arkady, too, is a début novel, and its narrative is recognisably set in post-recession, austerity-era London.
It’s August 6, 2018. It has been exactly seven years since the start of the riots that saw 3,000 people arrested for antisocial behaviour, in more than a dozen cities across England, having caused hundreds of millions of pounds in damages through looting and vandalism.
by Alec Dewar The last decade has been an eventful one for Iceland. That’s to say the least. The global financial crisis of 2008 eviscerated the country’s economy, sparking a systemic banking collapse more severe than anywhere else in the world. The collapse prompted the United Kingdom to respond by effectively ostracising Iceland from NATO…
An energetic style, a variety of subjects, and contemporaneity are the markers of an enthralling collection of essays. As for a scholarly or sermonising style, a limited range of topics and themes, and a recurrent attraction to overlooked events and figures from the dark corridors of history: dull, dull, dull — or, more to the point, unhip.