Summer Reading B2G1 Free

Wednesday, August 15th, 2001


No One Thinks of Greenland

by John Griesemer

A review by Adrienne Miller

GIST: The comparisons to Dr. Strangelove and Catch-22 are inevitable in this really funny and out-there first novel set in a secret military hospital in Greenland during the Korean War. A corporal named Rudy Spruance has been sent here, to Qangattarsa, because...why? He isn't entirely clear on that, and neither is anyone else.

DETAILS: What's not to love about this intricately imagined and altogether delightful first novel? Qangattarsa's near-insane commander, one Lieutenant Colonal L.G. Woolwrap, assigns the hapless Rudy to work on the hospital's newspaper, whereupon Rudy uncovers some unsavory secrets about the place. The dialogue is quippy ("'So which is worse here, the bugs or the assholes?'"); the characters and setting intricately imagined ("out in the fjord, the two bears were swimming away; their heads white dots, their wakes a pair of chevrons"); and the story moves with the pace of a stand-up comedy act. No One Thinks of Greenland is that rarest of first-novel achievements: an across-the-board success.

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