Author Mark Piggott writes:
Last week’s appalling events in Woolwich brought back the same feelings of confusion I have felt for some years now and tried to fictionalise in my book. As someone from a long line of left-leaning socialist atheists, I feel deeply uncomfortable when religion takes centre stage, and particularly when we’re told we must respect the religious views of people who seem to wish us ill.
Although Muslim groups were quick to condemn the Woolwich atrocity – probably feeling under pressure to do so – was it factually correct for PM David Cameron to state that “there is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act”? Will debatable statements like that really preserve the peace or simply give groups like the EDL a sense that they are the only ones telling it like it is?
Still, perhaps I’m being naive about the EDL – and about literature. For me the best writing should challenge, and provoke, and go against the grain. I struggle to recall a contemporary novel by an English author whose hero is “right wing” – whatever THAT means. Again and again, it seems, the author falls back on cosy assumption and passive certitude. Where is the anger, where is the doubt – where is the English Houellebecq?