This book is a western dressed as farce. But nothing is ever strictly one thing or another in Everett’s books, and as always, there is a deep red vein of truth running through it. Our narrator, Marder, runs into Colonel Custer who gives us a piece of his thinking:
”I suppose you’re all too familiar with the heinous activities of one Big Elk…That Indian’s scalp will be the crowning feather in my cap. The heathen has no respect for the ownership of land. I mean, we take it and they want it back, keep coming back. Hunting lands, they say. Fishing waters, they say. That’s not it, though. I know why…I’ll tell you why. To confuse me. To confuse us. To make us question ourselves, our values. We must have more land than we need. It’s essential to our maintaining a balance between greed and hypocrisy, between unhealthy subsistence and needless, uncontrolled growth…”
This is a book for a time when you are sunk in the absurdity of daily life and you seek affirmation, relief, companionship. But it will nudge you as well, for it will remind you that there are good people out there. We just have to be sure not to kill them all off.
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