Introduction
in The quiet contemporary American novel
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book defines quiet as an aesthetic of narrative that is driven by reflective principles and places Marilynne Robinson within a vibrant contemporary American trend. To accommodate and link a wide range of texts and themes, the author identifies four common features that unite the quiet American novel in its contemporary form. First, the quiet novel represents the life of a quiet protagonist and an introvert. Second, the protagonist will seek out quiet spaces in which to pursue quiet activities. Third, consciousness will be a central character or a theme, providing a catalyst for narrative action that is independent of national or topical event. Fourth, and most important of all, is this central claim: the quiet novel is a novel where very little happens.

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