Alexander Star

Alexander Star was the editor of Lingua Franca.

What the hell happened? Philip Roth

Alexander Star, 4 February 1999

Some time ago, Philip Roth remarked that his novels investigate ‘people in trouble’. Though much about his work has changed over the years, his fictional landscapes are still littered with human wreckage. Rage and lust, anxiety and melancholy are the dominant emotions, and all human impulses, even loyalty and affection, tend to career wildly out of control. Disorder is the norm; and self-understanding a bitter joke.‘

Following the Fall-Out: Rick Moody

Alexander Star, 19 March 1998

Like much of Rick Moody’s previous work, Purple America charts the lives of the ‘slovenly, affluent’ young. It’s not an especially good life. Moody’s characters are distinctly unhappy, unformed, unable to proceed with their lives in anything like a reasonable way. Instead, they gradually succumb to a set of local problems. When the logic of crisis is put in motion, the outlook further darkens. In Moody’s novels, to be born is a crime, and to grow up compounds the offence. The enclosed residences of American affluence are under a curse – nature and neuroses will contrive to bring them low.’‘

The cultural strategy of the Reaganite Right was prepared as early as 1976 by Daniel Bell in Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. Blame the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s –...

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