Review: Everything Is So Political

Friday, 19 July 2013
In a 2005 interview with Salman Rushdie, interviewer Jack Livings of The Paris Review asked a seemingly simple question of the author: "Could you possibly write an apolitical book?" Rushdie, known for his novels with overtly political themes, replied that he had "great interest in it," using the example of Jane Austen, whom he said could "explain the lives of her characters without a reference to the public sphere."

Rushdie's answer, of course, begs the following question: What makes something political? In the introduction of her recent anthology, Everything Is So Political: A Collection of Short Fiction by Canadian Writers, editor Sandra McIntyre argues that everything is political. In fact, everything isn’t just political; it’s so political, she says, borrowing lyrics from a Spirit of the West song.

Considering only the public sphere to be political is a "too-narrow and so literal view," writes McIntyre in the book's introduction. Using the works of Jane Austen as an example, she responds to Rushdie's comments, reminding readers that the role of women and the property laws that discriminated against them were crucial, and very political, parts of Austen's novels.

"We know that everything is political and that political means and has always meant more than 'government, politicians, and the state:' it means who we know, who we have sex with, what we eat or how hungry we are, where we shop, even what words we use," writes McIntyre. This belief was the catalyst for Everything Is So Political, a collection of 20 contemporary short fiction stories by writers from all over Canada.

This review originally appeared on rabble.ca. You can read the rest of it here

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