Gish Jen’s timely fifth novel, “The Resisters,” imagines a society even more catastrophically divided than our own. Almost all of the jobs have been automated and rising seas have swamped large sections of the country. The privileged, known as the “Netted,” have “angelfair” skin and live on high ground, while the “Surplus,” whose skin is often “coppertoned,” suffer on swampland and rickety houseboats. At the center of Jen’s inventive novel is a Surplus family of resisters. Grant, the narrator, is a former professor, Grant’s wife, Eleanor, is a brilliant lawyer and cult figure who lives among the Surplus by choice, waging legal battles against the powers that be.
Together, Eleanor, Grant and their only child, Gwen, practice a variety of endearingly anachronistic and possibly illegal activities: gardening, knitting sweaters, reading novels, and — most unexpectedly — playing baseball. “The Resisters” might be the only dystopian novel whose climax involves a tense, high-stakes baseball game.
Gish Jen is the author of four previous novels. Her honors include the Lannan Literary Award for fiction and the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She delivered the William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in American Studies at Harvard University. She teaches from time to time in China and otherwise lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Author: Gish Jen
- Published 2021
- 320 pages, softcover
- 8 X 5 inches