If, as Benedict Anderson has argued, the realist novel has a particularly close relationship to the nation, what kind of narrative form would be best suited to transnational or even global fictions? This essay proposes a few answers to this question by looking first at what Roger Ebert has called “hyperlink cinema,” a form that emerging directors like Alexandro Gonzáles Iñárritu have used to connect narratives set in widely disparate locations (the film Babel is my case in point). The essay then analyzes David Mitchell's Ghostwritten as a “hypertext” novel, pointing out how its thematic concerns and formal structures, especially its concern with point of view and language, make this novel a global fiction of sorts. The novel's often criticized science fiction elements in particular can be elucidated, I argue, by Ulrich Beck's utopian observation that “it is the future, not the past” that integrates the cosmopolitan age.
Rita Barnard; Fictions of the Global. Novel 1 August 2009; 42 (2): 207–215. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-2009-006
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