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Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not Paperback – May 19, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; Reprint edition (May 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078688696X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786886968
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 r‚sum‚, 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

AMY SEDARIS has appeared often on screen, both large and small. She's cocreator, with Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello, of Comedy Central's hit show Strangers with Candy and half of the Obie-winning "Talent Family" playwright team (with her brother, David). Amy lives in Manhattan with her imaginary boyfriend, Ricky, and her pet rabbit, Dusty.

Customer Reviews

So far it is very funny!
H. Banks
Sometimes the book seems a bit thin, but the characters are just as shallow morally as they are textually.
Frederick C. Schrock
If you enjoy the humor of The Colbert Report or Strangers with Candy, you will love, love, love this book.
Ratso Ruck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Henry on July 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD
If you like Stephen Colbert's work on the Daily Show and Harvey Birdman, you'll love this audiobook. He does most of the narration. The writing is clever and the voices are great. This is one of the funniest audiobooks I've ever heard, and I've heard all of the David Sedaris books. I rent a fair number of audiobooks, and this is the first one that I wanted to purchase after I heard it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I bought the audio CD of this book to have something to pass the time on a 4-day solo moving adventure. I couldn't have asked for a better book to listen to while I drove through Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois! The wit and comedic timing is superb, and the book, while wonderfully written, couldn't have been read by a better team. They do innumerable voices for their characters and just the plain quick wit of the story caused me to laugh all the way down I-90.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Treynor on November 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
An insane story, made up mainly of character sketches. The audio version is superior to the written format primarily due to the superior performances by the authors.

You do miss out in seeing photos of Stephen Colbert in drag, however, so you may want to skim through the hardcover version the next time you're at the book store.

If you're a fan of Tom Bodet or Garrison Keillor, you'll enjoy this spoof on their type of storytelling.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lleu Christopher on January 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is going to have to be a very mixed review. I found many parts of Wigfield hilarious, but on the other hand I was also disappointed in it. This is a book that I feel could have been much better. After all, there was no shortage of talent here -the three authors are all highly creative comedians. The book starts off very well. I laughed out loud at the first couple of chapters, and I had high hopes for the rest of the book. Then, about a quarter the way through, I became a little concerned, as the material was already starting to seem a bit thin. Yet, I can't say it tanked completely. There were still laughs in the remainder of the book, but they were really stretching the concept out. In a way, the authors were a little too much like Russell Hokes, the fictitious author of the narrative, who is desperately trying to reach his goal of writing 50,000 words, despite not having much to say.

Some reviewers have called Wigfield a satire on small town life. I don't think that is really accurate. It is really a satire about writing. The funniest part of the book, and I think the core of the novel, deals with the pretensions of an ordinary, not very intelligent or ethical guy who wants to make money as a writer without doing much research, thinking or even writing. In fact, the deliberately bad writing done by Russell Hokes is the cleverest part of the book. I think this actually went over the heads of some people who said the book is total garbage. If you take the time to absorb it, you can appreciate that it takes as much work, perhaps a bit more, to write as atrociously as Hokes as it does to write well. The book is chock full of absurdly hilarious descriptions, characterizations and metaphors.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Garbato on February 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Wigfield represents the very best of quintessential small-town Americana. Built at the base of the pricey-but-worthless Bulkwaller Dam, Wigfield boasts sixteen gentlemen's clubs (including the premier T-- Time Show Palace, The Bacon Strip, The T--- Shop and The Muffeteria), several junkyards, a community theater with a troupe of semi-trained rabbits, and even its own local rag, The Wigfield Sporadic. Like many charming small towns, Wigfield is under attack; but the threat lies not in urbanization, suburban sprawl, factory farming or the like. Rather, that which shaped the proud town of Wigfield will soon be unleashed upon it if the government goons have their way. The Bulkwaller Dam is scheduled to come down - oh noes!

Luckily, journalist Russell Hokes is on the case. Sent by Hyperion Books to document the plight of America's dying small towns in 50,000 words or more (it's in the contract), Hokes arrives in Wigfield just in time! Between immersing himself in Wigfieldian culture and sidestepping his publisher, can Hokes prevent the flooding of Wigfield? Does anyone really care?

WIGFIELD: THE CAN-DO TOWN THAT JUST MAY NOT is a supersillious satire of small-town America. Admittedly, the comic stylings of Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello aren't for everyone, but I pity the fools. If you like Strangers With Candy, The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, then you'll love the saga of WIGFIELD.

In fact, reporter Russell Hokes of WIGFIELD is clearly the prequel to one Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA, of THE COLBERT REPORT fame. From his trusting of the gut to his scorn for books, Hokes is the vision of Dr. Colbert in his early days.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey A. Veyera VINE VOICE on May 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm told that the humorist stylings of Steven Colbert, Amy Sedaris, et al are an acquired taste. I'm unable to judge, seeing as how I acquired the taste long ago, thanks to the brilliant "Daily Show" and "Strangers With Candy" shows these folks put together.
"Wigfield" concerns a broken-down town on the way to being an underwater park, thanks to the impending destruction of a nearby dam. This is simply the framework on which the authors hang their over-the-top caricatures, however.
If you enjoy deadpan delivery of the outrageous (think "Spinal Tap" or "Best In Show"), you'll dig "Wigfield."
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