Archive for the ‘Satire’ Category
Saramago’s last, indeed posthumous, book is a real treat. Brief, inventive, funny, it furthers the author’s well-known distaste for religious dogma by traversing many of the familiar stories of the Old Testament by means of a fanciful parable told from a rational point of view. Much like The Elephant’s Journey, it shows Saramago’s stylistic fingerprints in relaxed form.
First-time author Ned Beauman really lays it out there in the first chapter of this extraordinary novel, which begins with an imaginary surprise birthday party thrown by Hitler for Joseph Goebbels in 1940. It is an exhilarating, outrageous opening to a book that will in fact take a quite different course. But it is important as a way of establishing the moral parameters (and this IS a moral book) and freeing up an imaginative space in which Beauman can explore some ideas that are normally unapproachable.
September 13, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: 1930s, Bloomsbury, Eugenics, Fascism, Real People Fiction, Time Period Fiction, WWII Â· Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, Humorous, Satire, United Kingdom
MACHINE MAN, an off-kilter tale of a man who accidentally loses a leg and who then discovers that the enhanced replacement is more efficient than the original, seems to be the natural progression of Maxâ€™s grimly hilarious, eccentric, yet uncannily spot-on skewering of corporate culture.
THE ASTRAL, by Kate Christensen, gets its title by way of its namesake, the Astral building in Brooklyn, New York. This building houses the protagonist of this book, an aging poet named Harry Quirk. His last name befits him and his family. They are interestingly dysfunctional in many ways.
Harry was once a somewhat well-known poet, teaching poetry workshops and writing his lyrical poems in rhyming and sonnet style. His publisher and mentor has moved to Europe and his style is now out of favor in the United States. His wife, Luz, decides after thirty years of marriage that Harry is having an affair with his best friend, Marion. Despite Harryâ€™s pleading innocence â€“ and he is innocent â€“ Luz does not believe him and she kicks him out of their apartment in the Astral.
August 1, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Brooklyn, Hasidic Life, Kate Christensen, Quirky Â· Posted in: Contemporary, Drift-of-Life, Family Matters, New York City, Satire, y Award Winning Author
If for nothing else, A YOUNG MAN’S GUIDE TO LATE CAPITALISM will be remembered as a clear-eyed, unsentimental look at money and our complicated relationship with it. The protagonist in Peter Mountfordâ€™s debut novel is a young biracial man, Gabriel de Boya, who is on assignment for The Calloway Group, a New York hedge fund. He finds himself in La Paz in Boliviaâ€”where the novel is setâ€”on the eve of the election that would usher in Evo Morales as President.
Gabrielâ€™s assignment is to predict first the outcome of the election, and subsequently its effect on the Bolivian gas industry. Gabrielâ€™s boss in New York, the aggressive Priya Singh, would essentially like to speculate about whether Morales would nationalize the Bolivian gas industry right away, as he promised. To obtain such sensitive information, Gabriel works incognito in the city passing off as a freelance reporter on assignment.
Chris Jaynes has just been fired from his position as the token black professor at a prestigious liberal arts college, and retaliates by visiting the president and snatching off his red bow tie. This none-too-subtle reference to the preferred attire of Leon Botstein, president of Bard College where author Mat Johnson also taught, launches the book as a satire, but gives little hint of the likability of its hero or the fascination of the study of race that will follow. Johnson turns the subject inside out, standing it on its head, looking at race with an outrageous accuracy whose aim falls on black and white alike. Forgive me, therefore, if I set the comedy aside for the moment and concentrate on the book’s intellectual underpinnings.
Much of the debate concerns the nature of blackness itself, beginning with the protagonist’s own racial identity.