America, Apocalypse Now

Courtesy Prufrock’s Page, this is Siddhartha Deb on recent “post-apocalyptic” America novels by Jim Crace and Cormac McCarthy:

Reversing America’s manifest destiny of endless expansion, people are abandoning the country, making their way past ruined machines and highways, past roving bands of slavers, to take a ship to a better future. America has become the Old World, and Crace’s protagonists Franklin Lopez and Margaret are sustained in their hard trek largely by visions of a land of plenty beyond the ocean.
It is a remarkably imaginative rendering, especially because Crace’s novel joins a small but distinct body of works about an America that has fallen off the map of modernity.

In the 1980s, J G Ballard wrote Hello America, a characteristically quirky account of an abandoned continent that plays host to only a few rustic tribes with names such as Executives, Bureaucrats, Astronauts and Divorcees. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a more recent attempt in this category, depicting a bleak, ravaged land where a father and son attempt to make their way past feral gangs and contamination, the stripped-down language of the novel demonstrating perfectly how this is a place shorn, finally, of all superfluity.

Out of curiosity, I Googled “post apocalyptic India novels”. All I came up with was, on the first search page, a heartfelt reference on someone’s blog to the menace of “f***ing maudlin Indian male drunks!” Not quite what I was looking for, but close, I suppose.

2 comments

  1. Don’t know about novels, but there’s Abhijit Sircar’s play Phoenix that’s set in some kind of post-apocalyptic India full of robots.

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