Yes, I Read Books

Is Sally Rooney the literary Nanfu Wang??


Mostly because, as genres, documentaries and auto-fiction are far from synonymous.


Though both artists are interested in how politics inform our lives, Wang seems more concerned with exploring the politics themselves, whereas Rooney goes in — aaaaaaaaall the way in — on the personal (if we believe that she uses her characters to voice *some* of her own thoughts, then her new book, Beautiful World, Where Are You?, makes clear that she sometimes questions the worth of her own writing because of its paucity of explicit politics).

BUT, since Rooney’s self-reflective characters (they reflect on themselves their selves, and they reflect Rooney’s self) do intermittently discuss politics, and since each of her books appear to be distorted snapshots of her life as she ages through it, Rooney’s bibliography bears some resemblance to Wang’s oeuvre, in that both chronicle the progression of their lives, and the sociopolitics of the time, in and through their work.

As such, by engaging with their art, we can track their development as people, and as artists, and the role politics play in shaping them.

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