The Introduction sets out the terrain of the book by signifying a key historical turning point in postwar France (and the West more generally): the spatial crisis of globalized capitalism. The effects of this crisis are felt as once familiar, local environments are increasingly de-localized and made porous to global trends and planetary preoccupations. The chapter proposes an initial synthesis of key notions from important thinkers of postmodernity and globalization—including Paul Virilio, Marc Augé, Peter Sloterdijk, and Bruno Latour —in order to develop the parameters of this crisis, which notably entails the destabilizing of senses of place, identity, and belonging. It makes the claim that such preoccupations constitute a fundamental underlying impetus for the contemporary French novel, illustrating this with a brief reading of Jean Rolin’s Les événements [The Events] (2015). Finally, it presents overviews of each chapter, introducing the corpus of eight novels that will be the subject of the book: novels by Michel Houellebecq, Chloé Delaume, Lydie Salvayre, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Virginie Despentes, Philippe Vasset, Jean Rolin, and Marie Darrieussecq.
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