Simon Leser

  • Making It

    MUST A NOVEL ENGAGE with contemporary life? One still finds the call, as tenacious as cliché, for novels that “speak to the moment we are in,” “work out society,” or otherwise “interpret the now,” insisted upon regularly in marketing copy and pieces of criticism, not to mention on Twitter. A better question to ask is whether a novel can do anything but react to—or reflect—contemporary life. This one is characteristic of a certain kind of Marxist criticism, which seems at times to make a point of noting that novels engage with the “now” regardless of their authors’, or readers’, intentions. And