Magazine article Reason

The Feral Detective

Magazine article Reason

The Feral Detective

Article excerpt

Deep in the Mojave Desert, far from the civilized world, two men face off in a ritual battle to the death. Surrounding them, watching, are members of the Bears and the Rabbits, two splintered remnants of a hippie-era wilderness commune. Then an interloper from New York inserts herself into the fight. As the combat comes to a climax, she yells at the perplexed spectators: "DID YOU FUCKERS EVEN VOTE?"

That's just one bloody/comic moment in Jonathan Lethem's The Feral Detective, a book that has attracted attention as, in The New Yorker's words, "one of the first pieces of fiction to address the Trump Presidency." Lethem, who has no love for Trump, may be working off some of his antipathy to the president here: The novel is narrated by a Trump hater dazed by the election, and that desert death match takes place on Inauguration Day. But he isn't above spoofing his protagonist's political obsessions. …

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