I thought it was weird reading Nancy Lee’s book “The Age” and simultaneously reading the interviews-it was not a case of drawing parallels in my imagination but the explicit telling-this is the mindset we had when we were teens-that sparked particulate a particulate mental debate. Was she not dating herself and her book by the inclusion of such a gone-by mindset? Had she not committed a fatal folly? That was until my friend brought up the subject of the destruction of the earth by our own hand. And, by that extension, our own very particular fears and projections.
The characters in Lee’s book are overcast by the nuclear fear. Overcast is not adequately truthful. The theme umbrellas and trickles and storms into every niche of the book; the theme is the book, just as the psyche is the writing. I found it scary and not the least overdramatic; after all, who really believed there would be another nuclear war? I had read my history books and there was WW2 and it had ended at that. Nothing to fear.
Well, the history books of our generations’ futures haven’t been written yet. And it is my hope that, in a 100 years, people will read the thoughts people have divulged from their minds today and think “What a silly fear! How overly dramatic they have been! There was nothing to fear all along!” But each generation has such a fear. There is no slack generation. From the hardships of procuring enough for survival, to the failings of family-honoured manual labour skills lying prone at Industrialization’s feet, to wartime fear and peace time anxiousness, there is always something, looming. And this fear, everywhere that it is, defines its generation.
It’s not overly dramatic at all.