The Great Anti-American Novel

Daniel Donatelli. H.H.B., $17.76 paper (422p) ISBN 978-1-937648-15-2
Donatelli presents Dennis Robert Justin, a surly hermit who enjoys nothing so much as books and solitude. His bizarre death spurs Big Boy (who narrates this novel, set in the not-too-distant future, from a jail cell) and Candy—children Justin rescued from an abusive Catholic orphanage—to revenge, and to attack a decayed America led by hedonistic baby boomers to self-destructive conflict. The moral choice presented here is as old as Sophocles, and Donatelli's Latin headings deliberately evoke a sense of parallel between the collapse of ancient Rome and America today. Big Boy's destructive, murderous quest and self-justifying logic undoubtedly parodies the consciousness of Vietnam-era radical groups such as the Weathermen, but the struggle between self-righteous isolation and the need for community resonates throughout. Donatelli somehow melds an action-packed view of a dystopian future with reflections on the dilemma of a decaying modern-day America.
Reviewed on: 12/16/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
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