Terrorism and Technology in Jennifer Egan’s Fiction

Jennifer Egan consistently pays attention to ideas of terrorism, war, and violence in her fiction. From her first novel, The Invisible Circus (1995), Egan writes about citizen bombing and guerrilla violence in a coming-of-age narrative fascinated with ideas of death and belonging. This interest in terrorism continues in Look at Me (2001), in the subplot of Lebanese terrorist ‘Z’ and a description of terrorist intent that eerily prophesies the events of 9/11, occurring just after the novel’s publication. Egan’s best known novel A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010) (hereafter referred to as Goon Squad) is haunted by the image of 9/11, which is present even in absence as the novel’s unique narrative structure moves between the before and after of the attacks. This interest is clearly still evident in the spy-thriller plot of Twitter fiction ‘Black Box’ (2012), and is even touched upon in Egan’s most recent novel Manhattan Beach (2017), a historical fiction which centres upon the first female diver at the Brooklyn Naval Yard in 1940’s New York and engages with its wartime setting and ideas of American military power.

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Conference Review: New Research on American Literature and Neoliberalism

‘New Research on American Literature and Neoliberalism’ (organised by Arin Keeble) was held at Edinburgh Napier University on the 9th December 2019. This symposium included eight papers over two panels, and launched six new books focused around American literature in the neoliberal age: Diletta De Cristofaro’s The Contemporary Post-Apocalyptic Novel: Critical Temporalities and the End Times (2020); Paul Crosthwaite’s The Market Logics of Contemporary Fiction (2019); Myka Tucker-Abramson’s Novel Shocks: Urban Renewal and the Origins of Neoliberalism (2019); Arin Keeble’s Narratives of Hurricane Katrina in Context: Literature, Film and Television (2019); Liam Kennedy and Stephen Shapiro’s Neoliberalism and American Literature (2019); and Sharae Deckard and Stephen Shapiro’s World Literature, Neoliberalism, and the Culture of Discontent (2019).

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Pod People: Brave New Worlds of Digital Audio Drama

For the last several months I have been lucky enough to have been on writing sabbatical from my university. As such, I have often found myself around and about my hometown during the day. I feel like I am a strange figure, writing in coffee shops, making enemies of baristas, running errands, and looking, to all but the most enlightened of observers, decadently unemployed. In an effort to stave off the effects of my increasingly sedentary life…

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Loud Fictions: Noise in the Contemporary American Novel

In his 1946 essay, ‘Silence,’ the English novelist Aldous Huxley described the twentieth century as ‘the Age of Noise. Physical noise, mental noise and noise of desire – we hold history’s record for them all’ (149). Writers of the early twentieth century saw noise as a symptom and consequence of modernity and modernist writing, as Josh Epstein notes, was ‘infiltrated’ by ‘the sounds of air-raid sirens, trains, typewriters,

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Androids in the Academy

There is something uncomfortable about David, the android from Ridley Scott’s 2012 film Prometheus. This is partly due to the various interpellations…

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