Novels like these 'make me want to join Al Qaeda'
Dale Peck, the hatchet man of contemporary fiction, was asked by The Morning News to judge a round of the 2006 Tournament of Books. They knew who they were asking. They had to. He has a book of essays called Hatchet Jobs for crying out loud.
In a cranky, iconoclastic blogpost, Peck actually refuses to pick a winner: "In Hatchet Jobs, I referred to fiction as the engine of capitalism. After reading Ian McEwanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Saturday and Ali SmithÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s The Accidental, I think I was being generous, at least as regards novels being written now."
Calling contemporary fiction "nothing more than an enabler of certain bourgeois illusions," Peck launches into a tirade progressives will recognize as a lofty echo of contemporary media critique:
until writers realize the social compact is spiritual and species suicide, a pseudoethical pressure valve that allows Western society to pretend itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s examining its troubled conscience when all itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s doing is assuaging the guilt we feel for exploiting the rest of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â€and destroying it in the processÃ¢â‚¬â€then the literary novel will remain little more than a series of embarrassing, irrelevant mea culpas.Ouch. (TMN)
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