[DWJ] Best(etc.) Books of the Year

Farah Mendlesohn farah.sf at gmail.com
Sat Dec 30 03:25:32 EST 2006

On 30/12/06, Robyn Starkey <rohina at shaw.ca> wrote:
> Speaking as an Ishiguro fan, I found this to be one of the most
> disturbing books I have ever read. Not because the plot was unexpected,
> but because of the way he explored the attitudes towards the truly
> creepy ideas he was presenting. I loved it, but it gave me nightmares.
> robyn

I hated the book because it perpetrated the Great Lie about
slavery/oppression, that there is such a thing as a slave mentality
and that people will become passive and just accept it.

This has been disproved by historians over and over again: good
conditions do *not * make people accept slavery.

The book is not science fiction because it does not ask "how would
humans behave in a situation like this?" It simply moves automatons
into the correct position that we can be as White liberals in 1830
saying "isn't it terrible, we must do something for the poor dears".
It reminded me all to vividly of my white students in Baltimore in
1998 who quite simply couldn't grasp that Black people could be
teachers and nurses and could liberate themselves in 1865, but
constantly phrased it as "white people went south to liberate black
people". Even when they saw the figures of "contraband" (black people
who walked over the lines to the union army before the Declaration)
they couldn't see them as agents.


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