Saturday, November 22, 2014

i'll give this a try:Treat Us Like Dogs and We Will Become Wolves by Chute, Carolyn


LJ Reviews 2014 October #2
In this latest work from Chute (The Beans of Egypt, Maine), newspaper reporter Ivy Morelli investigates the Home Place Settlement in Maine, a collective that exists outside the social and economic norms of modern America under the charismatic but troubled leadership of Gordon St. Onge. What Ivy finds is more nuanced and complex than the tempting soundbites of "cult" or "militia"; despite some unsavory aspects of Settlement life, it's hard to argue that St. Onge and his followers don't have a point about the destructive nature of much of the media and the detrimental effects on ordinary citizens of corporate and political corruption. Unfortunately, the sympathetic story Ivy relates is the first in a chain of events that threatens to break down the settlement way of life. This big, sprawling, messy, tour de force employs multiple narrators (including space aliens) and metafictional techniques. Though she does evolve, Ivy's character is so annoying and shallow that it's something of a relief when she takes a backseat in the last half of the novel and other characters emerge. VERDICT At turns funny, moving, and disturbing, this book will challenge readers to check their assumptions about how people choose to live in today's society.—Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis

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