My sister-in-law, Dana Spiotta, saw her second novel, Eat the Document, nominated for a National Book Award last year. It's now out in paperback. While updating her site, I poked around the net to see other mentions of her, and came upon this interview in Believer Magazine in which she said this:
Of course, ’70s American extremism really has nothing to do with Islamic fundamentalism. Even tactically. If you’re a suicide bomber out to kill as many people as possible, it’s a lot different than the Weather Underground setting off a bomb in an empty office building. Not to say that it isn’t incredibly dangerous and irresponsible to do these things.Check it out. And buy the book.
Certainly it’s harder than ever to engage the idea of revolutionary violence, even if the intention is only property damage. It’s hard to make it legible. But I always think the novelist should go to the culture’s dark places and poke around. Pose a lot of hard questions. Tell me it’s forbidden, unthinkable, and that’s where I want to go. Because the chances are it’s complicated, and the complications are meaningful. One of the things I was contemplating in Eat the Document-and I wasn’t trying to come down on one side or another-is that violence, even property damage that isn’t supposed to include human damage, really does have a profound cost on the perpetrators. One of the tragic aspects is that people were drawn to act out of desperation or naiveté, people who in many cases were trying to do good and then ending up in a very different place than where they expected to be. When I was doing the book, I thought, What would it be like to think about it, years later, after the fact? And surely you must. You know, you can imagine that if Katherine Ann Power lived in a different time her life might have been different. She might have made some different decisions if things didn’t line up the way they did.