The 2008 Financial Crisis in Literature & Culture

I am looking for examples of literary treatment of our current financial crisis. I’ve always liked the notion of “treatments.” Joyce’s “treatment” of The Odyssey. O’Brien’s treatment of Vietnam. The various treatments of 9/11 (from Falling Man to Saturday to Netherland to A Gate at the Stairs to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, etc.) Or even general thematic “treatment” of fathers & sons or of the journey narrative or of star-crossed lovers. Or treatment of that moment in the heroic narrative when the hero balks at pursuing his own destiny… Everything in a way is a treatment since we’ll perpetually telling the same stories over and over again.

That’s why new material, such as the Great Recession, intrigues me. But on the current financial quagmire, particularly the 2008 mortgage-security crisis, I haven’t found much.

There are, though, two fine treatments out there. Continue reading


Shit is Wack, or Your Emoticons Won’t Save You

You ever sit down for coffee with a good friend who has just landed back in town after a long, wild road trip? That’s what Your Emoticons Won’t Save You, the debut novella by Ethan Nichtern, reads like: a fervent, highly caffeinated tale told over a downtown diner’s aluminum-edged table. Nichtern, a dharma teacher and social activist, has previously published a book on Buddhism (One City), but this is his first foray into fiction. At a slim 108 pages, Emoticons reads quick and easy, but leaves a significant impression: of our wealthy, wayward country; of its hungover, overeducated youth; and of one young man’s attempt to find his way along the thorny path.

In many ways, Emoticons is an unconventional novel. Continue reading