This new [post-9/11] reality seems to have manifested in the literary world in what must undeniably be called a new literary genre. For lack of a better word, let’s call it Translit. Translit novels cross history without being historical; they span geography without changing psychic place. Translit collapses time and space as it seeks to generate narrative traction in the reader’s mind. It inserts the contemporary reader into other locations and times, while leaving no doubt that its viewpoint is relentlessly modern and speaks entirely of our extreme present.
Hm. In other words, exactly what the best SF has been doing for decades now, I'd wager. Didn't Clifford Simak's City do just this, to the thunderous applause of absolutely no one but the alleged ghetto of SF (and fantasy) readers? Is it only okay if it's "real" writers who do this sort of thing, not folks like Simak — who had at least as much to say about human destiny in City as most any other, larger, better-promoted, or more allegedly ambitious book?
The author of the review, by the way, is Douglas Coupland.
Addendum: The above is not meant to be a patch on Kunzru's book. I'm just frustrated at the way critics and reviewers talk about this or that thing being "new" in literature when SF/fantasy have been doing it for a good long time, and doing it quite capably thank you.