David Marcus ponders the question:
Since the 1960s, the political novel has gone abroad, into exile, journeying to those countries where politics is still a signifier for action. Nadine Gordimer, V.S. Naipaul, Doris Lessing, J.M. Coetzee, André Brink became its English-language masters. Even when American novelists picked up the intrigues of political commitment, they often exported their novels abroad. Joan Didion’s A Book of Common Prayer had to go to the fictional Central American country of Boca Grande, Don DeLillo’s The Names to junta-controlled Greece. Robert Stone’s Damascus Gate set its apocalyptic conspiracies in Jerusalem and Gaza and perhaps one of our finest political novels, Norman Rush’s Mortals, explored the desolation of political action in the dry, desert veld of Botswana. To be sure life is better, if perhaps more neurotic, on this side of a state of emergency and without the fear and upheaval, the violence and terror, of revolutionary politics. But how has it affected our political imaginations?