You know, we’ve been sitting here, using this word politics—but what do we mean by it? Let’s say we mean social mechanisms, and systems of social mechanisms, that sort out who gets treated how. Well, every writer— everybody—has implicit views of the way people are related to one another through such systems. And those views are inevitably going to be expressed in a piece of fiction.
Fiction is an excellent way to explore the relationships between people and their contexts. But any real exploration of those relationships is not going to be at all doctrinaire. It’s not the purpose or practice of fiction writers to polemicize. On the contrary, fiction might be the most unfettered way to go excavating for evidence of real human behavior and feeling. And if you keep your hands off them, your characters are bound to demonstrate the workings of the world in ways that take you by surprise.
Eisenberg and Wallace Shawn are going to be at Hunter College on September 24th, doing a reading of Thomas Bernhard’s The Loser.