Synopses & Reviews
In Max Barry's twisted, hilarious vision of the near future, the world is run by giant American corporations (except for a few deluded holdouts like the French); taxes are illegal; employees take the last names of the companies they work for; The Police and The NRA are publicly traded security firms; the U.S. government may only investigate crimes if they can bill a citizen directly. It's a free-market paradise!
Hack Nike is a lowly Merchandising Officer who's not very good at negotiating his salary. So when John Nike and John Nike, executives from the promised land of Marketing, offer him a contract, he signs without reading it. Unfortunately, Hack's new contract involves shooting teenagers to build up street cred for Nike's new line of $2,500 sneakers. Scared, Hack goes to The Police, who assume he's asking for a subcontracting deal and lease the assassinations to The NRA.
Soon Hack finds himself pursued by Jennifer Government, a tough-talking agent with a barcode tattoo under her eye and a rabid determination to nail John Nike (the boss of the other John Nike). In a world where your job title means everything, the most cherished possession is a platinum credit card, and advertising jingles give way to automatic weapons in the fight for market share, Jennifer Government is the consumer watchdog from hell.
Jennifer Government is the kind of novel that can become a byword a Catch-22 for the New World Order, a satire both broad and pointed, deeply funny and disturbingly on-target.
"Though pensive readers may extract political commentary from it, Barry's latest novel has more value as entertainment. A refreshingly creative and unique read." Gavin Quinn, Booklist
"Bubblegum pop-future comedy in which corporations go to war like feudal fiefdoms....Barry has a quick wit and a light touch, which helps the reader skate over some of the occasional patches of too-obvious satire and should translate easily (though more litigiously) to film. It's Catch-22 by way of The Matrix." Kirkus Reviews
"You weren't expecting anything ordinary from the author of Syrup, were you?" Library Journal
"It's probably not fair to criticize Jennifer Government for failing to make the reader angry enough to toss a chair through a Starbucks window. Even the most ambitious social satires tend to have rather limited power in the real world, and Barry is surely more interested in entertaining than in preaching or inciting. And he is entertaining. For the first hundred pages or so, he unleashes enough wit and surprise to make his story a total blast." Rob Walker, The New York Times Book Review
"Satire is not easy. 1984 was powerful fiction but lousy prognostication. Catch-22 has some wonderful moments but goes on forever. Jennifer Government does just about everything right. It is fast-moving, funny, involving and, if you share Barry's dark view of the corporate ethos, all too serious." Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
"Barry's style of writing is much like that of Chuck Palahniuk, the author of Fight Club....[H]e has you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning....Jennifer Government is delightful. It will simultaneously stimulate your interest and beg you to focus on the many satirical aspects of consumerism in America." Nicholas Thomas, USA Today
In the near future, corporations rule the world and the one who defies them is pursued relentlessly.
Taxation has been abolished, the government has been privatized, and employees take the surname of the company they work for. It's a brave new corporate world, but you don't want to be caught without a platinum credit card--as lowly Merchandising Officer Hack Nike is about to find out. Trapped into building street cred for a new line of $2500 sneakers by shooting customers, Hack attracts the barcode-tattooed eye of the legendary Jennifer Government. A stressed-out single mom, corporate watchdog, and government agent who has to rustle up funding before she's allowed to fight crime, Jennifer Government is holding a closing down sale--and everything must go.
A wickedly satirical and outrageous thriller about globalization and marketing hype, Jennifer Government is the best novel in the world ever.
About the Author
Max Barry is an Australian, for which he apologizes. He is the author of the cult hit Syrup, although he spelled his name "Maxx" for that novel "because it seemed like a funny joke about marketing, and I failed to realize everyone would assume I was a pretentious asshole." He was born on March 18, 1973 and lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he writes full-time, the advantage being that he can do it while wearing only boxer shorts.