"Nick Naylor had been called many things since becoming chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies. But until now no one had actually compared him to Satan." They might as well have, though. "Gucci Goebbels," "yuppie Mephistopheles," and "death merchant" are just a few endearments Naylor has earned himself as the tobacco lobby's premier spin doctor. The hero of Thank You for Smoking
does of course have his fans. His arguments against the neo-puritanical antismoking trends of the '90s have made him a repeat guest on Larry King
, and the granddaddy of Winston-Salem wants him to be the anointed heir. Still, his newfound notoriety has unleashed a deluge of death threats.
Christopher Buckley's satirical gift shines in this hilarious look at the ironies of "personal freedom" and the unbearable smugness of political correctness. Bracing in its cynicism, Thank You for Smoking is a delightful meander off the beaten path of mainstream American ethics. And despite his hypertension-inducing, slander-splattered, morally bankrupt behavior--which leads one Larry King listener to describe him as "lower than whale crap"--you'll find yourself rooting for smoking's mass enabler. --Rebekah Warren
From Publishers Weekly
"Nick Naylor had been called most things since becoming chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, but until now no one had actually compared him to Satan." So begins the adventures of this protagonist, a shamelessly slimy yuppie and PR flack par excellence for the tobacco industry. The story, such as it is, consists of Naylor's attempts to prop up his failing corporate star by expanding his defense of the evil weed. Working the airwaves, he engineers successful, hysterical appearances on Oprah and Larry King , after which he's kidnapped by anti-tobacco terrorists who attempt to murder him by plastering his body with nicotine patches. As usual, Buckley's humor is over the top, although he doesn't exactly choose tough targets (his previous novel, The White House Mess , tackled the decline and fall of the Reagan/Bush dynasty). But the blatant immorality of Big Tobacco inspires some wonderfully comic vehicles, such as the delightfully morbid M.O.D. (Merchants of Death) squad, a semi-secret weekly lunch club that consists of Naylor and fellow flacks for the NRA and the alcohol industry. The silly plot sometimes gets in the way of the funny stuff, and it's far more entertaining to watch Naylor try to maintain his fiefdom and satisfy his libido amid the madcap spin control. Buckley is a smoother, funnier and more refined heir apparent to Art Buchwald's throne, and this book cements his position as the best up-and-coming political satirist on the literary map. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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