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The Crack Magazine


Only Americans Burn In Hell

Jarett Kobek, Serpent’s Tail

“This chapter is a poorly fleshed-out fictional pretense to write about something that isn’t fictitious”. If an entire book could be summed up in one of its sentences then here it is, right there on page 130 of Jarett Kobek’s latest novel. The chapter is entitled ‘hello from sex drenched hollywood’ and it purports to tell the ongoing adventures of a couple of mythical characters from Fairy Land who are journeying through the US. What the chapter is really about, however, is how the international capitalist class control public discourse. The book is a frustrating read in that I had zero interest in its time-travelling Amazonian-like characters but maximum interest in Kobek’s searing (and funny) take on everything from genocide to ‘Game of Thrones’ to how the patriarchy is benefitting from the #MeToo movement. A delirious mix of Adam Curtis (join the improbable dots documentarian), Stewart Lee (stand-up comedian) and Laurence Sterne (18thcentury proto-postmodernist) ‘Only Americans Burn In Hell’ is one part absolute tripe and three parts absolute genius, which is a better ratio than most books.        

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