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The Contemporary British Novel Since 2000

Edited by James Acheson

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Focuses on the novels published since 2000 by twenty major British novelists

The Contemporary British Novel Since 2000 is divided into five parts, with the first part examining the work of four particularly well-known and highly regarded twenty-first century writers: Ian McEwan, David Mitchell, Hilary Mantel and Zadie Smith. It is with reference to each of these novelists in turn that the terms ‘realist’, ‘postmodernist’, ‘historical’ and ‘postcolonialist’ fiction are introduced, while in the remaining four parts, other novelists are discussed and the meaning of the terms amplified. From the start it is emphasised that these terms and others often mean different things to different novelists, and that the complexity of their novels often obliges us to discuss their work with reference to more than one of the terms.

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Introduction, James Acheson
Part I: Four Voices for the New Millennium
1. Ian McEwan: Lies and Deceptions, David Punter
2. David Mitchell: Global Novelist of the Twenty-First Century, Brian Finney
3. Hilary Mantel: Raising the Dead, Speaking the Truth, Lisa Fletcher
4. Zadie Smith: The Geographies of Marriage, Gretchen Gerzina
Part II: Realism and Beyond
5. Maggie O’Farrell: Discoveries at the Edge, Susan Strehle
6. Sarah Hall: A New Kind of Story-Telling, Sue Vice
7. A.L. Kennedy: Giving and Receiving, Alison Lumsden
8. Alan Warner: Timeless Realities, Alan Riach
Part III: Postmodernism, Globalisation and Beyond
9. Ali Smith: Strangers and Intrusions, Monica Germanà
10. Kazuo Ishiguro: Alternate Histories, Daniel Bedggood
11. Kate Atkinson: Plotting to Be Read, Glenda Norquay
12. Salman Rushdie: Archival Modernism, Vijay Mishra
Part IV: Realism, Postmodernism and Beyond: Historical Fiction
13. Adam Foulds: Fictions of Past and Present, Dominic Head
14. Sarah Waters: Representing Marginal Groups and Individuals, Susana Onega
15. James Robertson: In the Margins of History, Cairns Craig
Part V: Postcolonialism and Beyond
16. Mohsin Hamid: The Transnational Novel of Globalisation, Janet Wilson
17. Andrea Levy: The SS Empire Windrush and After, Sue Thomas
18. Aminatta Forna: Truth, Trauma, Memory, Françoise Lionnet and Jennifer MacGregor.

About the Author

James Acheson is former Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is author of Samuel Beckett's Artistic Theory and Practice: Criticism, Drama, Early Fiction, and John Fowles, and is coeditor (with Sarah C.E. Ross) of The Contemporary British Novel Since 1980.


Editor James Acheson's latest selection of essays by leading scholars in the field, The Contemporary British Novel Since 2000, takes the reader forward from the point where his earlier collection, The Contemporary British Novel Since 1980, left off. Since the beginning of the century, indeed, a number of gifted British novelists have come to the fore, and the present volume deals with the most widely read and best known amongst them. By challenging the reader’s concept of what a novel should be like, these novelists are breaking new ground. In their readings of such works, James Acheson and his colleagues shed valuable light on a vibrant, ever-changing literary scene.

- John Fletcher, University of East Anglia