Saturday, September 09, 2006

What I'm Reading -- U.S.! by Chris Bachelder

Chris Bachelder is the author of the brilliant Bear v. Shark. In U.S.! he writes about an America where people can and often do raise others from the dead. In this case, readers meet the recreated former author and politician Upton Sinclair. Sinclair’s careers after his first life are followed in the forms of letters, emails, reviews, EBay-type product listings and some normal storytelling. While obviously satiric, Bachelder makes Sinclair seem really quirky and cool. Sinclair is resurrected every few years by the dwindling number of Socialists in the country that are hoping that the author of The Jungle will help their cause. Unfortunately for Sinclair and his many secretaries, America is not ready for Socialism and so the muckraker keeps getting assassinated. Bachelder goes right after American culture without holding back. At times, the book seems to wander aimlessly, but after a while the book leads to a seminal moment at an Anti-Socialist 4th of July Celebration and Book-burning in Greenville, South Carolina. The result is an amazingly well done and hilarious look at this country, pop culture and politics.

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