Originally I planned to start the article talking about ebooks. Talking about the Internet. I was going to quote Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium. I was going to say that more people are reading on screens than ever before, and that bloated, antiquated conceptions about “the novel” would have to change to meet the new ways in which we read. This isn’t that article. That one is still rattling around in my head somewhere, and I think it would’ve turned out pretty alright in the end. But that’s not the article I’m writing right now.
This is going to be something else entirely, because, as of this writing, Donald Trump has been President Elect of the United States of America for five days. In the first 72 hours alone there have been an alarming spike in incidents of hate across the U.S. Protesters pour into the streets. The tension is like nothing I’ve seen before, and I’m watching at a distance, seeing it all unfold from an ocean away. It’s got me scared. It’s got me angry. And it’s got me—once I finally managed to shut the news and close Facebook and sat down to write this article—thinking about how truly irrelevant literary fiction has become in American culture at large. Read More