Thursday, November 02, 2006

Not Enough Indians by Harry Shearer

Yes, that Harry Shearer, of The Simpsons and Spinal Tap fame. Set in Gammage (rhymes with damage, I’m guessing), NY, Shearer’s debut novel begins when an idea is hatched by the local politicos to reinvigorate the financially depressed town by opening an Indian casino. The rub is that there are no Indians so they call in an “expert” who makes a specious claim that most of the residents are 1/16 Filaquonsett, a tribe that used to live in the area but were relocated to reservations by the US government a generation or two before. From here, Shearer lets his zany & madcap cast of characters run the show all the while trying to comment on greed, big business, and political correctness. It only works occasionally. The peculiarities and peccadilloes of the townsfolk are forced, the commentaries on modern day America are thin and the ending falls flat. Still, Shearer can turn a phrase and does dash off some clever lines that caused me to laugh out loud a few times. Not what I had hoped for but not as terrible as it could have been. I can only hope he has another, better novel in him but it seems, after reading some of his non-fiction works that also weren’t as funny as we all know Harry Shearer is, perhaps he’s better off reading and acting out the writings of others.

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