Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Five great books about visionary youth

Lars Iyer's new novel is Nietzsche and the Burbs.

At Book Marks he shared five great books about visionary youth with Jane Ciabattari, including:
No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg is the opposite of the Young Girl, and it’s easy to be cynical about her. Cynicism is our disease—we think we know it all; that we know what human beings are like and presume our future can only be the continuation of our present. Whence the ridicule with which Thunberg is met. It’s because there’s nothing tongue in cheek, nothing witty to be said about her message, that she’s vilified, because the media, and us all are only capable of cynical amusement. And what she presents us with is belief, which is the opposite of cynicism.

JC: Are there any characters in Nietzsche and the Burbs who have belief anywhere close to Greta Thunberg, who has stared down world leaders to deliver her message?

LI: The novel is all about belief—about finding a cause to believe in. For all that they talk about despair, my core characters are too vibrant for Hamlet-style melancholy. They’re surrounded by the inaction of their contemporaries (the “drudges”) and won’t accept inertia as an option. Despite moments of skepticism, and of sporadic Mishima-like faith in wild acts of sabotage, their belief is incarnated in their hopes for their band, which would embody a new ethos, a new way of living in the world. Nietzsche and the Burbs is intended as a celebration of the serious intent of playful youth—of a collective, friendship-filled flight from meaninglessness.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue