If wishes were fishes I’d be a BIG fan of seafood, right? I wrote this about eight months ago: “The launch of this blog is brought about partly by my desire to reread a favorite novel, Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 political thriller “It Can’t Happen Here.” I also seek to gather interested parties to a book club-style discussion of this novel and its prescient reflection of the current political situation in the U.S.”
I figured it to be a fun little time waster during the presidential campaign. I was like so many who took Mr. T’s galactic rise through the primaries and on to the nomination as a fluke that would certainly not be successful come November. Silly us. It seems the exercise may prove more useful in the daze ahead. I’m reading the Signet Classics (Penguin-Random House) version through Amazon Kindle on my Samsung S4 tablet. It cost about nine bucks U.S. last I checked. It includes a 2005 foreword by one Michael Meyer which, if you’ve never read the book, contains a few spoiler-ish synopses, but generally sets a proper tone.
Case in point, regarding how this book was received in its time: “…[Sinclair’s] writing displays the haste in which he wrote—and so do the book’s reviews. R. P. Blackmur laments that ‘there is hardly a literary question that it does not fail to raise and there is hardly a rule for the good conduct of novels that it does not break’ (Nation, October 1935). Despite the many reviewers who complained about the novel’s loose melodramatic plot, flat and even corny characters, weak clichéd dialogue, padded political discourse, awkward sentimentality, and heavy-handed satire and irony, many also judged the book to be a timely caveat and applauded its propagandistic value against fascism. Clifton Fadiman pronounced it to be ‘one of the most important books ever produced in this country’ (New Yorker, October 1935), a book that all Americans should read to help save the country from impending political failures and potential tyrannies.”
Dive in! Read the foreword if you like and a few chapters as you can. Now that you have the link, feel free to comment here as to your participation/progress, and I’ll be posting in a few days to keep pace of say, four to five chapters a week (that will run us about 10 weeks total). I’m eager to begin the discourse !
“Whenever you hear a prominent American called a ‘Fascist,’ you can usually make up your mind that the man is simply a LOYAL CITIZEN WHO STANDS FOR AMERICANISM.”
– William Randolph Hearst, October 1935