By Robert Boyers
Operating intentionally opposed to the grain of assumptions dominant within the modern literary academy, Boyers examines novels by means of Günter Grass, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Milan Kundera and others, arguing that it will be important to talk of personality, ethics, and philosophic objective if one is to appreciate those works. A penetrating research, Atrocity and Amnesia illuminates the various significant fiction of our time and makes a huge contribution to modern political suggestion.
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Extra resources for Atrocity and Amnesia: The Political Novel since 1945
At the same time—and here is the nub of the problem—even when he most resembles the student of life, the young man from the third world provinces entering the "real world" for the first time, the conclusions he draws seem to us terribly impressive. They have the ring of formulations we encounter in Naipaul's nonfiction. " Or consider the narrator's response to a rather high-toned party he attends, at which he hears for the first time the sonorous protest songs of Joan Baez played on a phonograph: "It was make-believe—I never doubted that.
Affection is reserved for those who struggle against things as they are without imagining that they will effect a general or enduring improvement; compassion for those who can find no suitable way to express love or allegiance and see themselves driven to loathing or betrayal. For every decent impulse in Naipaul there are three or four that express a general revulsion from life with others and from the hope of a redemptive principle on which people may depend. The most telling detail in the novels of Naipaul's maturity is the acute sensitivity to smell exhibited by the superior protagonist.
He detests privilege and equality, oppressors and oppressed. His typical protagonist-figures are negative characters, inadequate in all but their capacity to register shame or to reflect on their failures. Affection is reserved for those who struggle against things as they are without imagining that they will effect a general or enduring improvement; compassion for those who can find no suitable way to express love or allegiance and see themselves driven to loathing or betrayal. For every decent impulse in Naipaul there are three or four that express a general revulsion from life with others and from the hope of a redemptive principle on which people may depend.