Thursday, September 04, 2008

The first person plural

Over at Nextbook, Gideon Lewis-Kraus (Dizzyhead status: unknown) writes about German writer Kevin Vennemann's debut novel, Close to Jedenew, which was called "by far the best literary text of the last few years that’s appeared from a writer under thirty."

The “we” who are not breathing are here hiding from their neighbors in an unfinished treehouse, and it is the “we” who narrates throughout. Unlike other recent examples of first-person-plural narration—Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End and Ed Park’s Personal Days come to mind—the “we” does not represent a cohort from which individuals are intermittently rotated out for examination, but rather a single narrator here speaking at the center of concentric crowds.

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