From Publishers Weekly
Goebel's third novel (his first was The Anomalies
), a tepid satire of contemporary politics in Middle America, hinges on Blue Gene Mapother, the heir to a vast fortune who prefers hocking his old toys at a flea market. After a mutual four-year estrangement, his family reaches out to Blue Gene, hoping to give his older brother John's congressional bid credibility among working men. Initially reluctant, Blue Gene is swayed by John's conservative beliefs and moves back home to begin campaigning full-time. It isn't until he meets Jackie Stepchild, a substitute teacher and revolutionary rocker, that he begins questioning John's motives. A serendipitous meeting with his former nanny leads Blue Gene to uncover a dark family secret and he quits the campaign. Spurred on by Jackie's leftist outlook—as well as his growing attraction to her—Blue Gene cashes in on his inheritance and opens up Commonwealth, a communal enterprise providing free services to the town's middle-class citizens. An abundance of homosexual slurs and profanity detracts from Goebel's crisp storytelling, and the uninspired spoof of red states feels stale. (July)
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"Wickedly ingenious...Goebel s ebulliently funny writing sparkles off the page. He s created a whole living, breathing world, filled with vividly sympathetic souls, and deliciously evil ones...one of the most interesting and engaging books I ve read in a while, a smart, witty, deeply moving parable..." Boston Globe
"This novel, a pointed commentary on the media machine that continuously grinds away at our culture, is by turns hilarious, thought-provoking, chilling, and sad. Goebel is a quirky, fresh, and relevant voice for our time." Library Journal
STARRED review --Boston Globe Library Journal