Friday, November 4, 2016
"The Island Will Sink" is more than a local Australian novel: It has ''world class'' written all over it. Part of a new literary canon.
When a British reporter was interviewing Margaret Atwood earlier this year, she asked the Canadian novelist: "Do dystopian novels, I wonder, actually do anything? Can they change behaviour?"
Atwood, not missing a beat, answered: "They are, she says, more like weathervanes than guides on averting disaster. All dystopian novels are telling you to do is make sure you've got a lot of canned goods and a gun.”
That leads the reporter to ask: "So do you have canned goods and a gun in Toronto?"
Atwood replied in her usual witty way: “I'm too freaking old. I'm probably not going to make it through the zombie apocalypse anyway.”
Australian novelist Briohny Doyle's debut book THE ISLAND WILL SINK is dystopiana, published in 2016, and joining a small group of other dystopian novels from Australian writers, including Alice Robinson, Jane Abbott and James Bradley, among others. It was published as "speculative fiction."
From JG Ballard in the 1960s to Atwood in the 21st century, readers, of course, have seen it all. Dystopia rules the waves. In her novel, Doyle takes us into an uber-dystopian alt-world with an Anthropocene touch. and it's not a pretty picture. What dystopia is? Her debut fiction is hyperactive, it's the hyperobject, and it blurs the lines between the real and the unreal.
She writes with a sense of the absurd, a sense of the sci-fi of an grimly imagined future. Is the world we as we know it headed for The End? Doyle's novel is pure speculative fiction and it does its job well. Very well. Maybe too well. Because when you've finished reading, what then?
Given what Doyle has accomplished with her debut fiction, the Australian literary scene will likely never be the same.
Call it cli-fi, sci-fi, spec-fic, whatever. It's a novel that's not going to away soon, thats for sure, and look for it in the future as required class reading in literature classes worldwide. "The Island Will Sink" is more than a local Australian novel: It has ''world class'' written all over it. Part of a new literary canon.
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 10:31 PM