The Otherworlds of Liz Jensen: A Critical Reading
Liz Jensen, a British author of eight novels, is among today's most innovative writers. Her literary thrillers occupy the terrain between realism and science fiction. This first study of Jensen centers on the very diverse "otherworlds" she creates in each of her novels, which can consist of an indeterminate space of ontological instability, a zone in which real and unreal converge to destabilize the realist text, as in Egg Dancing (1995) and TheNinth Life of Louis Drax (2004). In other novels the otherworld relies on defamiliarization: thus in War Crimes for the Home (2002) the experience of war is transformed by being seen from a woman's perspective. In stillother cases, the otherworld spans the novel's entire topos, as in The Paper Eater (2000), the full-blown utopia at the center of Jensen's oeuvre. Jensen's work approaches contemporary social issues such as religious fundamentalism, ecological disaster, and assisted procreation. Simultaneously, it displays a number of characteristics of erudite fiction, including self-reflexivity, inter- and intratextual reference, parody, pastiche, and burlesque. Notwithstanding the "popular" elements of Jensen's work, Helen E. Mundler's study adopts a rigorously academic approach to it, referencing canonical works but also more innovative texts, particularly by contemporary women writers, as points of comparison.Helen E. Mundler is Senior Lecturer in English Studies at UPEC (Universite Paris-Est Creteil) with a research affiliation at the Universite Paris-X Nanterre-La Defense.
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