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Jennifer Government

By Max Barry

(17)

| Hardcover | 9780385507592

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Book Description

In the horrifying, satirical near future of Max Barry's Jennifer Government, American corporations literally rule the world. Everyone takes his employer's name as his last name; once-autonomous nations as far-flung as Australia belong to the U Continue

In the horrifying, satirical near future of Max Barry's Jennifer Government, American corporations literally rule the world. Everyone takes his employer's name as his last name; once-autonomous nations as far-flung as Australia belong to the USA; and the National Rifle Association is not just a worldwide corporation, it's a hot, publicly traded stock. Hack Nike, a hapless employee seeking advancement, signs a multipage contract and then reads it. He discovers he's agreed to assassinate kids purchasing Nike's new line of athletic shoes, a stealth marketing maneuver designed to increase sales. And the dreaded government agent Jennifer Government is after him.

Like Steve Aylett, Alexander Besher, Douglas Coupland, Paul Di Filippo, Jim Munroe, Jeff Noon, and Chuck Palahniuk, Max Barry is an author of smartass, punky satire for the late capitalist era. It's a hip and happening field; before publication, Jennifer Government (Barry's second novel) was optioned by Stephen Soderbergh and George Clooney's Section 8 Films for a major motion picture. However, the level of literary accomplishment varies wildly among practitioners, from brilliant (Di Filippo and Palahniuk) to amateurish (Besher). This field is so hot, its writers needn't be nearly as accomplished as they'd have to become to break into any other form of fiction.

That said, like many of his fellow turn-of-the-millennium satirists, Barry is uneven. He has a lively imagination and a sharp eye for the absurdities and offenses of hypercorporate capitalism. But, with its sketchy characters and slow dialogue, Jennifer Government will disappoint anyone who believes the cover copy's grandiose claim that this is "a Catch-22 for the New World Order." --Cynthia Ward

4 Reviews

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  • 1 person finds this helpful

    A satirical look at consumerism run amok. But the phrase "run amok" doesn't describe the world Barry creates nearly well enough. Imagine a world where not countries go to war against each other, but corporations. Where there aren't military goals, bu ...(continue)

    A satirical look at consumerism run amok. But the phrase "run amok" doesn't describe the world Barry creates nearly well enough. Imagine a world where not countries go to war against each other, but corporations. Where there aren't military goals, but marketing goals. The government will only investigate a crime if funded by the victims, ambulances require an Amex card to come to your aid and workers take on the name of their company as their surnames. It's all rather far fetched... or is it? Perhaps the satire works so well because it's all so plausible. An often hysterical and thought provoking read.

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    Cuzzin Todd said on Apr 9, 2008 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    Disappointing

    Intriguing premise, which unfortunately was paired with mediocre writing and storytelling.

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    Psilotum said on May 28, 2007 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    Much better than "Company"

    Much more inventive, much more satirical than his more recent book, "Company".

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    bigyahu said on May 28, 2007 | Add your feedback

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