All posts tagged: kind of reckoning

This Week in Books: A Novel That Asks Us to Look at Ourselves

This Week in Books: A Novel That Asks Us to Look at Ourselves

This is an edition of the revamped Books Briefing, our editors’ weekly guide to the best in books. Sign up for it here. Lydia Kiesling’s new novel, Mobility, is about a woman who spends her life trying not to see the harm her work is doing to the Earth. The main character, Bunny Glenn, has fallen almost unwittingly into a career in the oil industry. And, as Amy Weiss-Meyer wrote in her essay this week on the book, Kiesling’s portrait of a compromised Everywoman trying to square herself morally with what she does for a living seems meant to make us readers squirm. What Mobility brought to mind for me, and not just because of Bunny’s name, were two other archetypal characters from American fiction: Babbitt and Rabbit. First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic’s Books section: Novels that try to reflect society back to itself are a staple of American fiction—they present us with characters who are meant to force a kind of reckoning. Think of George F. Babbitt from Upton Sinclair’s …