Sherwood Nation

Benjamin Parzybok. Small Beer, $16 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-61873-086-2
A catastrophic drought leaves Portland, Ore., suffering from daily power outages and water-rationing. The exhausted, hapless mayor and his ineffectual leadership bring no relief: the wealthy still get extra water shipments, and the poor still suffer the most. In response, former barista Renee and her activist friends stage a holdup of an illegal water truck. The action is caught on film by a TV crew, and Renee is instantly—and with no small whiff of sexism—dubbed “Maid Marian,” after “Robin Hood’s girlfriend.” She becomes first a symbol of rebellion and then a reluctant leader of the “nation of Sherwood,” formerly northeast Portland. Parzybok’s self-conscious reinvention of the Robin Hood legend is well-founded on contemporary environmental, social, and economic concerns, but the story would be better served if the idiosyncratic wit of Renee’s letters to her boyfriend, Zach, were on display in the rest of the book. A rambling plot, erratic pacing, and oversimplified characterizations undermine this fable of the clash between political idealism and harsh reality in a plausible near-future state of extremity. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/14/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-61873-087-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-5226-6524-3
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