This is absolutely a New Directions book, and we think those of you who’ve fallen in love with Javier Marías or Roberto Bolaño or László Krasznahorkai as much as we did will agree. Wholeheartedly.
This is a milieu that, for every Don Delillo (whose apocalypse-mastery is undeniable), produces several Jonathan Franzens or Chad Harbachs – conservative stylists whose technical gifts are harnessed to a kind of domestic realism, which eschews metaphysical or existential flights in favour of pragmatic, reader-friendly observation. It is a kind of triangulation between the demands of the critics and the market that feels, to many, less ambitious and confrontational than the work being made elsewhere in the world.
This is why, every so often, the city’s twentysomething literary crowd falls in love with a foreign writer, who for a period becomes a sort of talisman, a sign that their aspirations go higher than the current domestic-realist model will allow.