Wigfield is in peril. The Bulkwaller Dam, which towers over the tiny town, is scheduled to be destroyed which would in turn wipe out Wigfield. Journalist Russell Hokes travels there to profile the brave and honest citizens who are struggling to save their community. Well, sort of. Actually, Wigfield is not so much a town as a series of ramshackle strip clubs and used-auto-parts stores, lacking any kind of civic infrastructure whatsoever. And its people are not so much "brave and honest" as "brutal," "homicidal," and "lacking any redeeming virtue whatsoever." Similarly, to call Hokes, who narrates his own struggles to gather accumulate 50,000 words, a "journalist" is at best an exaggeration and at worst an abomination against the institution of journalism itself.
The world of Wigfield, as concocted by the brilliant Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, and Amy Sedaris (creators of the Comedy Central series Strangers with Candy), is somewhat reminiscent of the slice-of-life small-town humor of Christopher Guest's Waiting for Guffman. But instead of putting on a musical, as the Guffman folks did, the people of Wigfield busy themselves trying to acquire government handouts and stabbing each other to death. When the government rebuffs their efforts, based on the fact that they're not technically a town, they come up with a plan to get paid anyway. Wigfield's residents (as played by Colbert, Dinello, and Sedaris) are portrayed in a series of compellingly grotesque portraits by renowned designer and photographer Todd Oldham. The humor of the book--much like the town's mentality--is dense, as nearly every sentence contains one or several grimly hilarious references. Fans of feel-good whimsy are advised to navigate toward lighter fare but social pariahs, disgraced journalists, brooding malcontented sociopaths, and anyone who enjoys dark, twisted, and profoundly funny writing will find a home in Wigfield. --John Moe
From Publishers Weekly
The authors are well-known comedians. The photographer is a famous designer. The result is unlike anything the genre of humorous fiction has seen before. The book tells, sort of, the story of Wigfield, a small town that realizes it's in danger when the government wants to destroy a local dam in order to protect the local salmon population. Faced with imminent flood, the town solicits Russell Hokes, a self-centered hack journalist, who hopes to capture the undying spirit of the all-American small town. Wigfield, alas, is very far from living up to the bucolic image it intends to foster, and as the dam draws nearer to destruction, so does Wigfield's self-created myth. The plot unfolds as a series of interviews Hokes conducts with local residents, accompanied by droll, surreal photographs by Oldham. In the end, Hokes succeeds in his goal, which is, as he notes in his attached rsum, to "write a book, other than the ones that I have already written, so that I may use my words like a sword of swift justice in service of the truth, but in an easy-to-read, highly marketable way." He does so, however, not by creating a Capraesque tribute to smalltown America, but by unwittingly exposing the bumbling foolery beneath its surface. The book is one of those rare works of satire that combine creative form, uproariously funny text and a painfully sharp underpinning of social criticism.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.