The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Well, I finally finished it--all 1168 pages of the "35th anniversary edition." Its appeal to adolescents still eludes me. Yes, it's simplistic, with a "philosophy" that a high-school student could appreciate, but... did I mention that it's 1168 pages long? And not particularly full of action? And the dialogue does that thing, sorta like Joyce and Hemingway, where the narrator neglects to mention who's speaking, so it's hard to keep track of things? On the plus side, there really isn't much that can be called dialogue--but there is sure a lot of speechifying, declaiming, orating, perorating, stem-winding, filibustering, and the like! The conflict is pretty easy to understand: the "evil" "looters" and "moochers" (essentially, liberals who favor social programs, taxation of industry, and charity) finally get their way and, in the process, drive the United States to complete social and economic breakdown. The heroes of the book, the industrialists, go on "strike" (way to use the language of the Man against him!) and retreat to some hidden valley in Colorado where they make really good ranch dressing and, no, wait, I mean where they build up a new society based on unadulterated self-interest. And where they all share one woman, who happens to be the protagonist of the book. But only the alpha-est of those alpha-dog industrialists actually GETS the woman.



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