By Alice Bennett
Afterlife and Narrative explores why existence after loss of life is one of these powerful cultural thought at the present time, and why it really is such an enticing prospect for contemporary fiction. The ebook mines a wealthy vein of imagined afterlives, from the temporal experiments of Martin Amis's Time's Arrow to narration from heaven in Alice Sebold's the beautiful Bones .
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Extra resources for Afterlife and Narrative in Contemporary Fiction
The ‘after’ of apocalypse is totally different and separate from what has gone before: it is the end of time and the end of everything. An afterlife beyond death provides a provisional kind of closure, with a life that continues after the end. Taking a model of fiction from this leaves a sense of an ending which retains the revelatory qualities of apocalypse, but without its total annihilatory potential: an afterlife is partial and supplementary, making sense of an ending but undermining any claims to finality or unproblematic closure.
If, as in Kermode’s formulation, books are ‘fictive models of the temporal world’ which are ‘humanly serviceable as models only if they pay adequate respect to what we think of as “real” time, the chronicity of the waking moment’ (54), then this leaves little scope for the inclusion of other varieties of chronicity. What if, in order for ‘real’ time to function in our fictions, there has to be a hypothetical, supplementary time beyond it, which is also a fundamental feature of fictional narrative in the form of the novel?
A closure without end, an end without end’ (34–5). This complete separation of ends and endings, meaning and closure makes the event itself virtually irrelevant to the imagining of it, and the sense that can come from it. Malcolm Bull examines the problem of matching these two senses of ends together in his introduction to the collection, Apocalypse Theory and the Ends of the World d (1995). For Bull, ‘Most visions of the future fall somewhere between a pure eschatology of unmotivated disaster and a pure teleology of interminable purposefulness’ (1).
Afterlife and Narrative in Contemporary Fiction by Alice Bennett
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