‘The Haves’ and ‘The Have-Nots’
This chapter considers literature produced in response to the recession of the 1990s, the economic crash of 2007–8 and the subsequent period of austerity. The development of ‘the precariat’ and the evidence of government and think-tank reports reveal this as a period of declining social mobility. ‘The haves’ in the novels of Linda Grant and April de Angelis’s play, Jumpy (2011), have a retrospective view which complicates and re-evaluates the generational opposition. For ‘the have-nots’ in work by Rachel Cusk, Lisa Owens and Ella Hickson, the view is prospective and despairing. The chapter considers the literature in the context of Lauren Berlant’s work on ‘the good life’ and sees ‘the have-nots’ as awkwardly positioned between ‘cruel optimism’ and ‘depressive realism’. What they work towards, perhaps, is a tentative hopefulness.
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