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From the PublisherMcCrea has considered every alternative in cutting his own path from Dickens and Conan Doyle to Joyce and Proust. He mounts a sustained attack on the prevailing tendency to read these novelists as if the only form possible were the reestablishment of family genealogy. His simple—but absolutely brilliant—purpose is to give form to what, from the blinkered perspective of the family, seems to be formless.
In this stylish and intelligent work, McCrea offers a vision of something like the end of the Victorian family not as a social reality, since it is still with us, but as the imaginative heart of the good society. The modern novel as a genre, it turns out, reveals riches of queer metaphorical kinship that kinship doesn't know.
In this transformative account, McCrea shows how the stranger becomes a foundational figure, the random encounter the foundational event for the modern novel, prompting and justifying its formal innovations. The modernist embrace of non-genealogical forms of human connection is the great story recounted in this book, an exhilarating, utterly original, and moving work.