Zadie Smith’s forte has always been capacious books enfolding multiple cultures into one galloping, engrossing plot. In NW, she turns an unsparing eye on a grubby, druggy, crime-ridden, mixed-race council-flat in London.
With The Homeland Directive writer Robert Venditti offers a deep and meditative work on the nature of personhood in an era of mass marketing. Easily the equal of the illustrious works of John Reed or Jonathan Franzen, The Homeland Directive elevates both the political thriller genre and the comics medium.
Walter's situation is indicative of that which all of Franzen’s characters face: How to negotiate our better selves against the tug of monetary gain, sexual desire, and the competitive streak that so often both defines and undoes us all.
Historically, so-called women’s fiction is a bit of a mess. The Bronte sisters, studied in literature and MFA programs the world over, were forced to publish under male pseudonyms, while authors such as Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott, who enjoyed some success in their respective periods, were still condescended to.