Dystopia and the End of Politics  

In retrospect, the nineties can seem an anomalous decade, the only one since the Second World War when technological civilization did not appear particularly bent on self-destruction. Of course, not everyone greeted the end of the cold war as the …



Morality as Style  

All novelists are Stylists, but only a few are known chiefly for having what Vladimir Nabokov called “a fancy prose style.” Over the past twenty years, no well-known British writer has seemed more a stylist than Martin Amis.



Societies of Mutual Isolation  

Blindness by José Saramago translated by Giovanni Pontiero Harcourt Brace, 1998 293 pp $22 All the Names by José Saramago translated by Margaret Jull Costa Harcourt Brace, 2000 238 pp $24 The twentieth century was the era of comprehensive social …



Wresting Freedom from Necessity  

The Fierce and Beautiful World by Andrei Platonov translated by Joseph Barnes, introduction by Tatyana Tolstaya New York Review Books, 2000 288 pp $12.95 paper In Andrei Platonov’s novel The Foundation Pit, Nastya—a beautiful and precociously ideological, kulak-baiting little girl …