Books of the year 2010 | Michael Sayeau
While this year, to my mind, was marked by the release of highly anticipated novels that failed to live up to their advance billing, it was nonetheless a great year for the theoretical or polemical consideration of what a novel should be. David Shields's Reality Hunger: A Manifesto is an uneven work, haunted by self-contradiction, but still it arrived as a refreshing reopening of the question of what it is that we do, should be doing, when we write fiction - or whatever might fill the role that fiction has long held in culture. On the other hand, Gabriel Josipovici's What Ever Happened to Modernism was a sustained and historically grounded argument in favour of the resumed engagement the central problematics of modernist art. Both of these works, in the end, approach the novel as a going concern, which is a heartening turn for those of us who read or write them.