The Coyotes of Carthage

Steven Wright. Ecco, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-295166-3
Wright explores the fraught intersection of business and politics in his promising and caustic debut. Beginning with a series of epigraphs juxtaposing Supreme Court justices John Paul Stevens and Antonin Scalia’s opinions on Citizens United with Notorious B.I.G.’s rap song “Mo Money Mo Problems,” Wright chronicles the labors of Andre “Dre” Ross, a K Street political consultant who receives a second chance after running an ill-advised Machiavellian play that backfires on his firm. Assisted by his mentor’s wide-eyed 20-something grandson Brendan Fitzpatrick, Dre hopes to redeem himself by accepting a “clandestine grassroots dark-money campaign” to elect a new manager of Carthage County, S.C., who will be more likely to comply with the firm’s client, a mining company whose plans include “pumping millions of gallons of cyanide deep into the earth.” Wright conjures a cast of believable blue-collar locals to imagine how a local election can be manipulated through a carefully orchestrated process that includes the grooming of straw men, the crafting of rhetoric to distort issues, and the channeling of discord and dissatisfaction among the electorate to turn a campaign dirty, dangerous—and effective. Pungent with dark humor and cynicism, Wright’s nuanced portrait shows how the campaign not only pulls apart the town but threatens to drive a wedge between Dre’s career ambitions and his humanity. This incisive satire introduces an sharp new voice. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 12/20/2019
Release date: 04/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-295171-7
Paperback - 978-0-06-295168-7
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-06-297950-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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