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Skulk Paperback – December 25, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Progressive Press (December 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930852559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930852559
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,329,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marc Estrin is a writer, cellist, and activist living in Burlington, Vermont.

Marc Estrin's world line approximates a cross between a fungal mycelium and a Rube Goldberg device. Biologist, theater director, EMT, Unitarian minister, physician assistant, puppeteer, political activist, college professor, cellist and conductor, he is baffling, even unto himself.

OR, Alternative:
Marc Estrin was hired to teach theater at Goddard College, but in this departmentless utopia, wound up also teaching music, writing, Finnegans Wake, math, physics, medical self-help and "crazy courses" like Philosophy for Dishwashers, an audio-based lecture/discussion series to sweeten the life of cafeteria volunteers. Such are the fruits of liberal education.

OR, Even more alternative:

Marc Estrin grew up in a small apartment so full of books you had to walk sideways in the hall. Of these, he read not one -- till age sixteen, when he gave up his literary virginity to Franz Kafka: The Trial was his introduction to the larger life. This explains much. A mediocre student in high school, he was teased by his father into reading The Magic Mountain during the summer before college. Epiphany! The book was for him a topo-map of western thought and culture. With Mann as his guide, he sailed through college and grad schools, making a Hegelian leap out of graduate science into the richer, if iffier area of the arts. The Vietnam war and Bertolt Brecht were his siren callers into political activity, and his professional theater work dissipated into organizing, college teaching and communal living. When these ceased to put food on the table, he reached back into a past life to study and practice medicine. With the computer came the possibility of writing without retyping -- a stimulus sufficient to have resulted in his current crop of manuscripts, published and unpublished.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve Norman on January 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
Fighting frustration at a seeming epidemic of sightlessness, Marc Estrin resorts to premeditated fiction in an effort to pry open the nation's eyes to the disbelievable: America's official history of 9/11. Since the media and perhaps also the masses cannot bear to contemplate a regime complicit in that day's atrocities, the author beats a novelistic path to be traced with those figurative eyes wilfully closed. In a midwestern academic setting, the protagonists couple and conspire, and in the end carry out a modest reenactment of the World Trade Center implosion to demonstrate publicly the implausibility of the 9/11 Commission's version. Estrin's wit and scope always keep the action (and modest didaction) entertaining.

Skulk's forensic message is readily accessible on 9/11 websites and blogs, and in the end the author tells us just what phrases to search to read up on it. But even getting Skulk widely read may not help Estrin sublimate his frustration. National opinion surveys tell us in fact that a sizable cohort does not necessarily credit the official 9/11 story. But perhaps they also do not necessarily expect their government to tell them the truth. Is that where the real frustration comes in?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James R. Hogue on May 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
Marc Estrin's Skulk is a darkly entertaining comedy of misguided if well-intentioned political fumbling. Its unlikely pair of protagonists, coming from opposite ends of the political spectrum, hatch a scheme to make a complacent America ask, "Who really bombed the Pentagon and the World Trade Center?" But wait, wasn't the question of 9/11 answered in 2004 by a the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, otherwise known as the 9/11 Commission? Didn't they analyze 2.5 million pages of documents and interview 1,200 people to conclude that a global conspiracy operating under the name "Al Qaeda" orchestrated the attacks, helped along by U.S. intelligence failures? Why would Estrin push against this juggernaut of political analysis when expert scrutiny and our own eyes--via images of the day from the broadcast networks--have established the contours of this rubble-strewn landscape? And isn't a novel a rather lightweight vehicle with which to plow back the weight of settled history? Estrin's project is ambitious.

Estrin's characters and the America in which they dwell--represented here by the flat expanse of Kansas--exist in a post-9/11 world which is reminiscent of Frank Baum's Oz. Power is hidden and people generally feel unqualified to challenge it. Estrin's protagonists, like Dorothy and her friends, set out on a journey to change all this by hauling back the curtain of illusion so that the public can see the wires of stagecraft shaping their perception of the world. American democracy is depicted as a theater, its audience spell-bound into passivity. How in this contemporary America can one pull back the curtain to reveal the stage tricks of the wizard?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Brooks on March 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm dying to tell you about this amazing book, but I don't know where to begin. Let's start with, "Buy it!" Drink it all the way down. You'll be more than satisfied, yet ravenous for more.

Skulk has a knack for making the preposterous believable, a device perfectly suited to its subject; post-9/11 America. We're deftly transported in a suspension of disbelief, the depth of which becomes apparent only after the last page brings us abruptly back to earth. The book begins with a familiar premise -- 40-something liberal professor (Gronsky) gets the hots for an Ann Coulterish-conservative firebrand (Skulk) -- but before we know it, we not only believe in their improbable relationship, we're cheering for it. T.L. Skulkington (of the Connecticut Skulkingtons) could be Ann Coulter, if Ann Coulter only had a heart, and a brain. Although the book never mentions that thought, or its connection to a later reference to Frank L. Baum, that's the way it works - on many levels, seen and unseen. The tired sobriquet, "thought provoking", would be a slighting understatement.

Skulk is billed as "a post-9/11 comic novel", but don't expect manga, nor a tendentious rant about 9/11 truth. In fact, for those who have avoided the "rest of the story" of 9/11 (rest in peace Paul Harvey), there may be no better introduction (certainly none more entertaining!) than this book. Everything you didn't want to know about 9/11 is confined to no more than two pages, and by the time the ride is over, you'll want to know more. The book is an endlessly illuminating romp through post-modern America, with more food for thought about why Americans remain obtuse to their government's glaring lies than any supposedly rational explanation I've encountered.
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