Saturday, October 28, 2006

Thanks for Dave Monroe for posting this to Pynchon-l:
Surveillance, by Jonathan Raban
Clueless in Seattle as the age of paranoia dawns
By Pat Kane
Published: 27 October 2006

In an era where we can access any current affair from
a thousand different viewpoints - the blog comment,
backed up by the YouTube clip, discovered in the
e-mail newsletter that makes it to SkyNews - one feels
like cheering wildly for an old-fashioned "social
novel" like Surveillance. To sit with an artful,
humane narrator like Jonathan Raban, and share his
concerned gaze at an America gone nearly mad with
paranoia, is time well spent. This is the second in
his trilogy of Seattle novels, the first being the
dot-boom threnody Waxwings. By now it's clear how
Raban wants to filter the maelstrom of this United
States of Insecurity.


... Remember all those paranoid postmodern conspiracy
fictions: Pynchon, Ballard, DeLillo? Now, all it takes
is a classical realist in Seattle to walk the streets,
watch the news, listen to the conversations, and you
get the same effect. Surveillance is as useful and
eloquent a meditation on the extremism of the present
as you would wish to curl up with on a long weekend.