Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Fellow Americans by Keir Graff

" Now let's go out and bring democracy to America!" said George Libby.

Wow, this was more than I expected. My Fellow Americans by Keir Graff is a fun book to read but disturbing to contemplate. The story moves quickly, and I kept the book near, so when I had time, I could read another section. The central character Jason Walker never gets to rest, and I did not either until I finished the book.

The setting is familiar, especially to me since I live outside Chicago, but something has gone wrong. A tall building is being built along the Chicago River, and Jason Walker likes to take pictures with his old film camera. The president (never named but he was in office when the planes slammed into the World Trade Center) is in his third term. I think I'll stop here on the description of the plot because the reader needs to discover it.

If I were going to analyze, I would mention the book 1984 and the film Brazil. I might also bring up the new book The Suicide of Reason by Lee Harris, which I have not read, but I suspect some of the characters in the book have and taken it to heart. My Fellow Americans would be a good book to discuss.

If there are discussions, I suggest this question: Why does the author always refer to his characters by their full names? In his narration, he never says "Jason," "Gina," "Chad," or "Leo" except in dialogue. I think the author has a reason.

I urge more libraries to add this book.

Graff, Keir. My Fellow Americans. Severn House, 2007. ISBN 9780727865229

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