“Political” is like “experimental,” “realistic” or thousands of other adjectives applied to fiction — I’m more convinced by an individual example. Mr. Orner’s last novel was so swell it made me think every novelist should be engaged specifically and directly with culture.
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union made me think, scratch that, the fantastical is the best way to get at large cultural ideas. Whenever I read David Markson I think, never mind, the novel’s over, this is the direction writing is going in. A great novel makes you think all novels should be like that, in the way that if I’m driving around with the windows down listening to Revolver or Purple Rain or Velvet Underground With Nico I can’t believe I ever listen to anything else. Until I go the opera and then I think pop music is ridiculous.