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Pike's Folly Hardcover – March 7, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (March 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375412891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375412899
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,781,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An indictment of wasteful American capitalism, a satire of political correctness, an exploration of America's guilt for unspeakable slavery-era crimes—Heppner's second novel (following The Egg Code, 2002) is all of this, sometimes exhilaratingly, sometimes wearyingly. Hugely wealthy, 40-something Rhode Islander Nathanial Pike, throws quixotic millions at frivolous projects. His latest: buying and paving over a beautiful tract of New Hampshire wilderness to erect a mountaintop Kmart. While Pike's flailing novelist-secretary Stuart suffers writer's block, Stuart's wife, Marlene, battles an increasingly uncontrollable urge to strip in public. Meanwhile, Greg Reese, a fellow Rhode Island moneybags, is unhappily bound to his family's dubiously conceived philanthropic foundation; its secret raison d'etre is family guilt over the sexual abuse and mass-murder of dozens of slaves (whose bodies are unearthed on property Pike previously owned). Surprising connections come to light as the FBI and a hoard of activists work to publicly discredit Pike, and Reese's wayward daughter (a budding filmmaker) and her boyfriend (an obsessive fan of Beach Boy Brian Wilson) struggle to understand the powers and evils of wealth. When all of these disparate parties finally clash in Pike's new parking lot, the hero is both obvious and unlikely. Though the competing plot lines overwhelm the story, Heppner's prose is ax sharp, and he fells a great many American demons in putting forth his haunting and redemptive vision of New England's past and present. (Mar. 10)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Self-made Rhode Islander Nathaniel Pike, as eccentric as he is rich, buys a piece of federal land in New Hampshire's White Mountains and builds a parking lot on it--an intentionally utterly useless endeavor dubbed the Independence Project--then adds a fully staffed and stocked Kmart. Meanwhile, his counterpart--Gregg Reese, from old money--is managing his family's philanthropic funds so badly that he seeks a state subsidy. Pike's personal assistant is Stuart Breen, author of one literary novel, whose wife Maureen's compulsion to be naked leads to her arrest for public indecency. As in The Egg Code (2002), Heppner takes on modern culture with its pretension and hypocrisy, from art critics who take the Independence Project seriously to wasting money honestly earned versus giving money from an evil source to charity. But with characters you hardly care about and pedestrian prose, this is better commentary than fiction. Michele Leber
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Fortyish multi-billionaire Rhode Islander Nathaniel Pike enjoys wasting money on Quixote projects that serve no purpose except some weird inner fulfillment. His current ploy involves buying wilderness land from the feds in order to simply pave over the natural landscape at the top of a mountain before constructing an inaccessible K-mart.

Meanwhile, protestors begin a media blitz to discredit Pike as a lunatic defying nature. While Pike ignores his adversaries, an Interior Department bureaucrat plans to keep Pike's cash while assisting the eccentric's opponents via using the FBI to investigate his activities to uncover dirt. At the same time that wealthy Greg Reese asks Pike to help him with his family's philanthropic foundation that hides ancestral guilt involving sexual abuse and mass-murder of slaves buried on Pike's former property. A collision is coming between several forces that will rendezvous on Pike's newly paved parking lot

This wild satire rips the American way of life as the corporations and government get away with waste, abuse and fraud that is more sophisticated perhaps than the appalling crimes to slaves (not just the enforced bondage). The story line contains a slice of America as a horde of red and blue descend upon Pike's peak. Though there is too much subplots to fully engage and definitely not for CEOs, Mike Heppner can expect his phone and email patriotically followed because he exposes the government-industrial complex as bush league towards the tax-paying masses.

Harriet Klausner
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By MM on September 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book(s) for my Mother who reads constantly nothing negative to say
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on March 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Pike's folly is a parking lot built on a tract of roadless wilderness in New Hampshire's White Mountains and one of this satirical novel's funniest passages is the media reaction to its completion. Dubbed "the Independence Project" (by the critics, not its billionaire builder), the strip of engineered blacktop receives raves from all sides.

"One approaches it with apprehension, but comes away feeling strangely renewed," says "The Boston Globe." The "Village Voice" compares him to Frank Lloyd Wright. And from the "L.A. Times:" "America has always had an uneasy relationship with dadaism, and Nathaniel Pike's Independence Project is no exception."

Pike is furious and aghast and vows to take it farther, to commit an outrage so meaningless, "it would have to be immune to interpretation, so that not even the most astute critic could say anything about it."

Most everyone in Heppner's second novel (after "The Egg Code") is concerned with public recognition on some level. And all, except Pike and his friend and nemesis Gregg Reese, another Rhode Island billionaire, are in their 20s or early 30s, "a time to experiment and make mistakes," as Heppner put it in a recent interview. And they are all doing plenty of that.

The novel is set in the small-town state of Rhode Island where everybody knows everybody. While Pike spends his money on meaningless projects - like buying an old farmhouse, tearing it down and rebuilding its exact replica on the same spot - Reese is the philanthropist. "Whatever stunt Nathaniel pulled, however wasteful or eccentric, Gregg countered it with a very public act of generosity. He thrived on the idea that, in the twenty-plus years that they'd known each other, he was undeniably, unambiguously, on the side of the right.
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