On Ayad Akhtar’s “Homeland Elegies”

Jordan Elgrably in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

IF YOU’VE ALREADY READ Camus’s The Plague and have been searching for the perfect pre-apocalyptic fiction work to help you navigate our current affairs, this book may be just the provocation. I opened it knowing little about the author, other than having seen him act in the independent feature The War Within and perused his play Disgraced. Neither had prepared me for Homeland Elegies, which turns out to be masterful storytelling for these disturbing times.

Just as a playwright may be tempted to break the fourth wall and talk directly to you in the audience, a novelist wants you to believe that the tales s/he’s weaving are the honest-to-God’s truth — and maybe they are, even if they’re woven whole cloth, because as the ancient Greeks like to shout back at Socrates, “What is truth?” Thespians are first about the performance, always, but one hopes to glean nuggets of vérité, and in this first-person confession about a prize-winning playwright and sometime-actor named Ayad Akhtar, it’s the performance that counts.

More here.

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