Showing posts from November, 2008

Jennifer Government

[originally published September 2004] One of the special pleasures of the Harry Potter stories is their send-up of modern consumer culture - from Bertie Botts' Every Flavour Beans (and they do mean every flavor) to Chocolate Frogs, which come complete with a collectible card featuring a celebrity witch or wizard. Potter's creator, J.K. Rowling, pokes fun at contemporary marketing and advertising with tongue-in-cheek warmth that manages to make her simultaneously attractive to Madison Avenue and the rest of us - a remarkable achievement. Down the Rabbit Hole Max Barry's Jennifer Government , the satirical successor to his well-received first novel Syrup , takes a different angle on the consumer-marketing-gone-mad theme. Although Rowling's products are entirely fanciful, they're unmistakably patterned on things we all instantly recognize. Barry, however, doesn't make up the company names he uses: rather, he includes a defensive paragraph at the front of his novel