sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
it can't happen hereSince no one else has finished their three YA books yet, I get to read adult books until they're done. Yay! I just finished It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, and I have a lot of feels, and need to talk about it.

You may have heard of it as "that dystopian novel written in 1935 that suddenly ended up on the bestseller list again because it predicted Trump's presidency." It is, basically, that—written to warn Americans, well before WWII, about the dangers of fascism in a populist mask. It's not the only such book, but there's something particularly resonant in it—probably because the weird-looking, jovial, outsider president is just so very Cheeto Benito that it's deeply chilling to read.

I also very much related to the protagonist, despite the fact that he's completely a liberal who complains at great length about how the Marxists are a bit shit. (I have to say, as a commie myself, the book's scathing portrayal of communists is pretty much accurate.) This guy has to be one of my favourite dystopian fiction protagonists, as he really just wants to be left alone to sleep in, get laid, and read proper literature, but people keep being fascist at him so he has to actually go out and fight. That's me in a nutshell, or would be before Netflix was invented.

It does pretty well on gender—again, 1935, just in case you're ever inclined to write off a lack of interesting and complex female characters in a book as a product of its time—there are multiple overtly feminist women, one of whom gets to kick way more ass than any of the male characters. It's worse on sexual orientation, if only because the only prominent queer character is based on Ernst Röhm and meets a similar fate (it's unknown whether the writing of the book was completed before the Night of the Long Knives, but one doesn't have to be all that prescient to guess at what happens to people like Röhm under fascist regimes, or Milo Yiannopoulos, for that matter).

At any rate, I was absolutely engrossed and if you want a likely portrait of what the next four years will bring, give this book written over 80 years ago a read. And never sleep again.

Date: 2017-04-21 11:34 pm (UTC)
mlknchz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mlknchz
That book was the basis for the TV movie, series, and re-booted TV series "V", believe it or not

Date: 2017-04-21 11:50 pm (UTC)
kore: (book face)
From: [personal profile] kore
That book really is good! Sinclair Lewis was not at all bad re women -- his first novel, Main Street, is about a smart girl trapped by marriage in Gopher Prairie. Far better than Wolfe, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, blahblah, who are all much better writers, but rarely if ever wrote women as people.

Date: 2017-04-22 09:50 pm (UTC)
lapinlunaire: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lapinlunaire
Wait, seriously? I can't tell if you're joking or if this is real life

Date: 2017-04-22 12:11 am (UTC)
fidget: (Lawrenceville)
From: [personal profile] fidget
Thanks for the red1 hot book tip!

Anyway, yeah, this is definitely something I'd like to read, so thanks for the heads-up.

1Hahaha, see what I did there? See what I did there with Karl Marx? Hahaha!

Date: 2017-04-22 01:58 am (UTC)
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)
From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid
as he really just wants to be left alone to sleep in, get laid, and read proper literature, but people keep being fascist at him so he has to actually go out and fight

It's a struggle that is all too real.

Going to look out for this one.

Date: 2017-04-22 09:55 pm (UTC)
lapinlunaire: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lapinlunaire
This being rural Vermont in 1935, sleeping in is any time past 7:30 am (a lot of words are devoted to this)

I wouldn't last a single second in rural Vermont, I would willingly depart*

* to NYC where I could be a 1930s dirtbag

Date: 2017-04-22 10:01 pm (UTC)
lapinlunaire: (Garbo)
From: [personal profile] lapinlunaire
if only because the only prominent queer character is based on Ernst Röhm and meets a similar fate

It's ok, if there are badass ladies I will 100% believe they are in a relationship so if your comment above was serious, this is already the queerest book.

Also, I know I'm probably a bad person but I don't feel bad for Röhm. Yeah he was gay but he was also a terrible person and actual Nazi.

Date: 2017-04-23 03:25 pm (UTC)
lapinlunaire: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lapinlunaire
I have spent years being exposed to ads/previews for telenovelas and looking at covers of spolery magazines about those in supermarket check-out lines

1) they are sisters but maybe they're actually not! Kind of like how seemingly every telenovela with a long-lost siblings plot will have a couple interrogating whether they might actually be siblings but of course it turns out they're not

2) there was one Brazilian telenovela where I'm pretty sure a guy was boning his dad's mistress and plotting his demise

so no problem, there's always a way around if you ship it strong enough

Seriously, though, that's sad :( :( :( Maybe they're gay and just single because they don't have time to date anyone with all that's going on so it never comes up.

And yeah, I get what you mean re: gay guy.

Date: 2017-04-24 04:07 pm (UTC)
lapinlunaire: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lapinlunaire
If you keep throwing obstacles in the way of true love I will screencap this and send it to Chuck Tingle

He will appear on your doorstep at midnight, riding on a unicorn. A single tear will roll majestically down his cheeck and then he will disappear.

That is not a good way, lady buck! You need to prove love. Thanks

Date: 2017-04-25 02:50 pm (UTC)
lhrh37: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lhrh37
This is on my to-read. And maybe now on my to-give-my-Trump-voting family members for the next several holidays list as well.

"This is the third time you've given me this book, LHRH"
"Has it sunk in yet?"


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