Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Woefully Unsung"

In a discussion of literary politics, particularly regarding race and gender, The Economist's "Prospero" blog yesterday lamented the fact that Sigrid Nunez's The Last of Her Kind (among other works by women and minority authors) is not widely acclaimed as a "Great American Novel."....

"'When men write books about family life,' observed Katha Pollit recently, 'they are read as writing about America and the Human Condition. When women write books that are ambitious, political and engaged with the big world of ideas, they are seen as stories about the emotional lives of their characters.' I'm reminded of the way I felt when I first read The Last of her Kind, a fine novel by Sigrid Nunez, a woefully unsung author. Here was a smart, ambitious book—a Great American Novel of sorts—which spanned decades in the lives of two women who first met in college in the 1960s. It was about love, friendship, history and ideas, all from a female perspective. It felt thrilling to feel a real sense of familiarity with the characters on the page. But is it any wonder that Ms Nunez has been marginalised as a women's author? Read more.