Yankee Doodle Britainnia


Having recently been introduced to the concept of the indie novel, I have just written a review of an American indie novel which, when I have worked out the technicalities, will be published online in the NewYorkerTimes. Admittedly, the prospect of reading a novel about zombies awakened some of my literary prejudices. The prevalence of other worldly creatures within books, denoting in my closed mind, a concession to popularism, which I associated with “low art” and commercial exploitation.
As I read the novel, I realised the extent of my own hollowness. For the novel I was about to review, and others encompassing similar genres, consciously appropriates the notion of exploitation to satirise and thus, critique the society by which exploitation is generated; a symptom can, itself, be curative.
I inhabit a land whose soil is enriched by the works of Shakespeare, Shaw and Dickens. Standing upon this land today, are Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman and J. K. Rowling-lesser talents, perhaps, however recipients of worldwide acclaim. The alternate universes presented in their books tell us something about the people and the social realm of contemporary existence, which we call “reality.” Whilst aesthetic worth is measured in terms of style of presentation, interpretations of a book of or a work of art should, also, take into account its relationship with and impact upon the environment from which it arose.
American fiction has much to teach us stuffy Brits about the contemporary world and our own attitudes and belief systems. Thus, I have relinquished my inner, British snob and now embrace citizenship of an eclectic, literary world.