Off the Reservation by Glen Merzer
Kirkus Star

Off the Reservation

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On the verge of retirement, a straight-talking U.S. congressman campaigns for president in this fast-paced, wryly comic, and vastly satisfying political satire.

Just weeks after announcing he wouldn’t be seeking re-election, Congressman Evan Gorgoni of Indiana finds himself thrust back into the national spotlight after his frank and defeatist appearance on Meet The Press. “Truth is…there are too many people in the world,” he says. “If civilization keeps procreating this way, we’re doomed.” Refreshed by his realist approach, the media starts floating his name for a presidential bid. The Democratic senator ignores the hype—he’s enjoying retirement—until meeting his would-be contenders. “If I don’t run,” he tells Monty Berg, his quick-witted campaign manager, “the country’s going to choose between another cynical tax-cutter, and Nate Poston. Who has never met a question he couldn’t dodge.” With the help of Monty, he wins the Democratic primary and spends the rest of Merzer’s electrifying debut novel running against his Republican opponent, Gov. Malcolm Benneton, on a loose platform of population control and environmental sustainability. Refusing to prepare speeches, Gorgoni eschews grand promises and often loses himself in tangents. “My fellow Americans, I say to you with deep conviction in my soul, let us do away, totally, irreversibly, and permanently, with the leaf blower,” he says during his acceptance speech. Using real names of contemporary figures and writing with a keen eye for the absurdities of the American political system, Merzer offers a story of brash realism in an age of congressional gridlock. While most left-leaning readers will cheer for Gorgoni, many conservatives will likely find the novel dismissive of their ideology. Nevertheless, the author writes with a steady pen, and he rarely misses the opportunity for a joke. Whatever their politics, readers will chuckle at this systemwide sendup.

A witty, winking political novel sure to satisfy liberals in an age of extreme partisanship.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0692315163
Page count: 236pp
Publisher: Vivid Thoughts Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2015


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