When Lit PhDs Don’t Hear about Totally Relevant Books

So in the mid-2000s, I was thick in academic study of contemporary fiction, especially fiction that dealt with technology.

I was also starting to feel uncomfortable with the prospect of writing about books exclusively written by white men (except for the Japanese guy, who nonetheless wrote from a perspective of cultural power and entitlement). I sometimes discussed this discomfort with academic mentors and peers.

So when this book came out, why did no one tell me about it?

This PEN-USA-award-winning book by a woman about the effects of nuclear power on US and world culture?

Because graduate education in contemporary fiction is no place to learn about recently published contemporary fiction.

I like the book so far and will review it in full when I finish it.

My halfway-point teaser review: in this book about nuclear energy—when sub-atomic particles destroy very large regions—the book shuttles very quickly between the very large and very small observations. Characters speculate about the nature of this or that universal experience while they experience hyperlocal sensations, petty sniping, and the like. There are some Deadheads. I get a little tired of the reincarnated Oppenheimer’s obtuse reflections on the nature of suffering: but maybe that’s the point. Because he’s Oppenheimer.

I’ll know more about this when I finish the novel!

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2 thoughts on “When Lit PhDs Don’t Hear about Totally Relevant Books

  1. […] pretty much the plot of this book, Lydia Millet‘s fourth book, from the […]

  2. […] now read five books by Lydia Millet. All tremendous. All completely distinct in […]

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