In this hilarious and wildly inventive novel, Chris Bachelder brings Upton Sinclair back from the dead to see what he might make of our modern world.
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U.S.! is a playful, darkly comic novel that imagines the
serial resurrection and assassination of tireless muckraker
Upton Sinclair. In Chris BachelderÃ¯Â¿Â½s bizarre world, Sinclair
is repeatedly brought back by beleaguered but optimistic
leftists (whose refrain is "Hope and Shovels Forever"), and
then gunned down (and once harpooned!) by those seeking
fame, fortune, and American business as usual. As he grows
more and more politically and culturally insignificant,
Sinclair keeps writing his embarrassingly bad muckraking
novels and keeps risking his life for the Socialist
revolution, which is perpetually just around the corner.
In documenting the demise (but dogged faith) of the American
Left, as well as the violence and hysteria of the Right,
Bachelder uses a wide range of forms: stories, songs,
letters, journal entries, book reviews, memos, a syllabus,
newspaper and magazine articles, Internet auctions, and
transcripts of talk shows, interviews, and toll-free
hotlines. The second part of the novel is a fast-paced
narrative that brings the myriad characters together in an
explosive encounter. A dazzling mix of laughs and
revelations, U.S.! is not only an exploration of American
politics and culture, but an investigation into the
possibilities and problems of political art. Its publication
will coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the
publication of The Jungle, SinclairÃ¯Â¿Â½s internationally
renowned novel about the meat industry.
Weekend Edition Saturday - March 11, 2006
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