In a recent interview, Waidner said they were “against the idea that formally innovative literature now should be this rarefied thing, of interest to an elite readership”. We Are Made of Diamond Stuff might be the most engaging state-of-the-nation fiction since Anthony Cartwright’s Brexit novel, The Cut. Daringly experimental, this is the cutting edge.
Waidner writes about the working-class American figure skater Tonya Harding, whose career only served to “put her right back in her place”. Harding’s skates, Waidner quips, were “just Reeboks with blades on”.
But the Tonya Harding story doesn’t possess a single, defeatist meaning. She may have been ostracised and undervalued by the skating community. She may have turned to violence in retaliation or revenge. She also kept going. Class trappings operated as a brake on respectability but not self-realisation. And so it goes for the narrator of this resourceful, fist-raising novel – trapped in Brexit Britain, perennially precarious, but finding a way through, as reflected in their statement of defiance, the lovely, comma’d motto, “I have talents, I’ll use them.”