Synopses & Reviews
is a wildly scathing, landmark novel by New York author John Reed. Written in lower Manhattan, near Ground Zero, in the three weeks following September 11, Reed's story is surprisingly populated, not by Americans and Islamists, but by a motley array of farm and woodland animals who act out American history and its fallout. Reed's novel addresses the events of last year concisely and precisely to target the follies of today's entrepreneurs and religionists alike.
George Orwell's Animal Farm told a wry and sardonic fable of communism in a dystopic collective farm. Snowball's Chance parodies Orwell by firing a broadside at the casino economy and the culture of the good life. In a brilliantly conceived and executed riposte to the marketplace's unthinking cheerleaders, Reed's Snowball, the Pig ousted from the Animal Farm for rationality, returns to bring marketeering to the farm.
At first Snowball's regime prospers: heated stalls, running water, and a window for each animal. The farm moves away from its agricultural roots as Snowball and his team of educated Goats recreate Animal Farm as Animal Fair, replete with citizen performers and criminal sideshows.
With clarity, style, and humor, Reed takes on the legacy of Orwell's famous novel and the boardrooms of the transnational corporations. In doing so he spins a book that is witty, readable, and better targeted than a "precision" bomb. Continuing a tradition which extends from Aesop to Art Spiegelman, Snowball's Chance uses a playful fiction to ask very serious and often dangerous questions.
"As the World Trade Center massacre was happening, all New Yorkers probably formed ideas about who was responsible. But I suspect John Reed was the only one who blamed George Orwell....Snowball's Chance is a pretty vicious parody of Animal Farm....He not only shanghais Orwells story, but amps up and mocks the writers famously flat, didactic style." John Strausbaugh, New York Press
"John Reed challenges us deeply with his elegant September 11 updating of Orwell's Animal Farm. Snowball's Chance is a savage parody directed at awakening us from the long nightmare of our response to al Qaeda terrorism, and somehow manages to be entertaining along the way." Richard Falk, author of Winning (and Losing) the War Against Global Terror
"While reading Snowball's Chance, one plays this terrifying guessing game of animal a clef: Which animal am I? Which animal is my neighbor? Which animal is my enemy? Written in lucid, wise, funny, fable-prose, this book brings to mind Spiegelman's Maus the use of a playful metaphor to reveal horrible, frightening truths we might otherwise refuse to see. A scary, engrossing novel, a sustained triumph." Jonathan Ames, author of What's Not to Love?: The Adventures of a Mildly Perverted Young Writer
"A young writer of great promise." Paul Auster
"Reed is an extraordinary new talent." Fran Gordon
Fiction. Reed's first novel, A Still Small Voice, received high praise from an array of writers and critics. Paul Auster called it "a fine first novel by a young writer of great promise." SNOWBALL'S CHANCE is far more than a scathing sequel to George Orwell's Animal Farm, although it assuredly does count as that rarest of things: a successful sequel to a classic work. In a brilliantly conceived and executed riposte to the marketplace's unthinking cheerleaders, Reed's Snowball, the Pig ousted from the Animal Farm for rationality, returns to bring marketeering to the farm. "While reading SNOWBALL'S CHANCE, one plays this terrifying guessing game of animal clef: Which animal am I? Which animal is my neighbour? Which animal is my enemy? Written in lucid, wise, funny, fable-prose, this book brings to mind Spiegelman's Maus--the use of a playful metaphor to reveal horrible, frightening truths we might otherwise refuse to see. A scary, engrossing novel, a sustained triumph"--Johnathan Ames.
About the Author
John Reed received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. He is the author of A Still Small Voice, a novel. Reeds poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines. He lives in New York City, in the borough of Manhattan, where he was born and raised.