Synopses & Reviews
What constitutes a political novel? In this sharply argued book Robert Boyers Demonstrates that the genre is very much alive and cites as evidence the works of writers such as Gunter Grass, V.S. Naipaul, Nadine Gordimer, and Milan Kundera.
Boyers sees a political novel as an instrument for understanding the central experiences of our day-at its best an act of resistance to the comfortable association of actual conditions. He contends that they achieve their ends not with a soul-searching call to action but by quietly generating respect for the imagination that can never be content with things as they are. Working deliberately against the grain of the assumptions dominant in today's literary academy, Boyers treats the novels of Grass, Solzhenitsyn, Greene, Kundera, and others as criticisms of life rather then self-referring artifacts. In Atrocity and Amnesia, Boyers makes an important contribution to contemporary political thought.
"A rara avis in modern literary academia....It speaks well for both Boyers' critical intelligence and his integrity that he never uses simplistic labels...as a basis for his aesthetic judgment. He evaluates not the writer's views, but the literary use he makes of them....The strength of his book lies in his approach to each writer, regardless of his or her particular views."--Stanislaw Baranczak, The New Republic
"An important book...Even his detractors will not read such disparate novels as Greene's The Quiet American or Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle in quite the same way again. This, as much as anything else, is what 'critical authority' finally means."--The Georgia Review
"Boyers has written a compelling study, one that convincingly demonstrates that the political novel is a category that is not only worth our consideration but is essential to any intelligent, imaginative reflection on politics in the modern world."--Southern Humanities Review
"Boyers lays hold on political narrative and makes brilliant sense of writers as different as Nadine Gordimer, V.S. Naipaul, and Milan Kundera. The result is elegant...[and] indispensable to further thinking about politics and literature."--Terrence Des Pres
"Stimulating reading for those interested in the ways in which a writer may purposely encapsulate or intermesh ideological positions within the imaginative framework of a novel."--Centennial Review
Working deliberately against the grain of assumptions dominant in the contemporary literary academy, Boyers examines novels by Günter Grass, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Milan Kundera and others, arguing that it is necessary to speak of character, ethics, and philosophic purpose if one is to understand these works. A penetrating study, Atrocity and Amnesia illuminates some of the major fiction of our time and makes an important contribution to contemporary political thought.
Table of Contents
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3. Sturnidae starlings
4. Passiderae sparrows, rock sparrows, snow finches
5. Ploceidae weavers and allies
6. Estrildidae waxbills, grassfinches, mannikins
7. Vireonidae vireos
8. Fringillidae finches
9. Carduelinae typical finches