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How To Be Alone: Why Bother? – Jonathan Franzen

“The world of the present is a world in which the rich lateral dramas of local manners have been replaced by a single vertical drama, the drama or regional specificity succumbing to a commercial generality. The American writer today faces a cultural totalitarianism analogous to the political totalitarianism with which two generations of Eastern bloc writers had to contend. To ignore it is to court nostalgia. To engage with it, however, is to risk writing fiction that makes the same point over and over: technological consumerism is an infernal machine, technological consumerism is an infernal machine…”

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