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.

View More Terrorism and Technology in Jennifer Egan’s Fiction

9/11 Fiction and the Death of Irony

A week after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the editor of Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter, was quoted as saying that ‘the end of the age of irony’ had arrived, while Roger Rosenblatt, of Time, wrote: ‘One good thing could come from this horror: it could spell the end of the age of irony’. The affirmation that irony had died seemed to be confirmed in those first weeks, with many other commentators …

View More 9/11 Fiction and the Death of Irony