Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Atwood, Lethem, Robinson

with 2 comments

I’m part of the year-end Independent Weekly “What Our Writers Are Reading” feature this week, with capsule reviews of Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood, Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City, and Kim Stanley Robinson’s Galileo’s Dream. Here’s the takeaway ‘graph from the Robinson review:

In both genre and mainstream literary fiction, America’s vision of its future has been dominated for decades by dystopia and apocalypse. Robinson is perhaps the last, best utopian in American letters, unapologetically crafting in his novels visions of the better world that he believes can still emerge, through struggle, out of this one. Individual lives, he writes in The Years of Rice and Salt, always end with the tragedy of death; it’s only in the long history of collective struggle, over lifetimes, that we can hope to find the possibility of comedy, of happy endings. (As Martin Luther King put the same idea: “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.”) The first principle for Robinson, King and any other citizen of Utopia is not just the belief that a better future is possible but the conviction that the dream of the future can help us save the present; in the two-millennial span and twisting grandfather paradoxes of Galileo’s Dream, that political and philosophical commitment is made, for the first time in Robinson’s long career, spellbindingly literal.

2 Responses

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  1. How come we never got a formal blog review of Fantastic Mr. Fox from you?


    December 23, 2009 at 2:39 pm

  2. Mostly because November was hilariously hectic. But it was good! I don’t think I’ll ever able to take it quite as seriously as I take his other films because at its essence it’s a kid’s movie — though probably ALL of Wes Anderson’s movies are “kid’s movies” at their cores — but I’ll definitely buy the FMF DVD and watch it many times.

    I’m a little concerned that Wes is stalled after Darjeeling. This project was from someone else’s book, the next is a remake of someone else’s movie…


    December 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm

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