Hari Kunzru: The Breakdown of Truth

Hari Kunzru made his long-awaited return to the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2021 to discuss his latest novel, Red Pill. Since Kunzru's last appearance at the Book Festival in 2017, the world has witnessed a dramatic quickening of social division in the United States, fuelled in part by internet conspiracies and communities. Red Pill is a novel of ideas that takes place in the run-up to the American presidential elections of 2016 and traces the rise of the alt-right, its propagation through online culture and the dark web. However, this being Kunzru, Red Pill is about so much more than that, telling the story of the 21st century through the prism of the centuries that preceded it – from the creation of whiteness in European Romanticism through to the ways the internet has destroyed our sense of privacy. Exploring the slippery relationship between facts and truth, he joined us to discuss what it means to be ‘redpilled’ and what difference – if any – the election of Joe Biden might make.

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