Painted Desert By Frederick Barthelme

Frederick Barthelme's haunting new novel picks up where his acclaimed previous book The Brothers left off Junior college professor Del Tribute and his cyber muckraker friend Jen catch some old news footage of the LA riots some of that vivid close up slow motion shaky cam stuff with the fires blazing and people getting trashed and Jen in particular is incensed by the barbarity of the scene At her insistence she and Del her father Mike and her friend Penny decide to step out of the shadows and head to ground zero Los Angeles to do something anything about this particular horror Their journey takes them from Biloxi Mississippi to Dealey Plaza in Dallas from Alamogordo to the kitschy tourist sites of New Mexico and Arizona Jen sets up a scourge of e mail spamming and internet newsgroup posts about the atrocities of the riots but then one night in Dallas she gets a strange message back from a guy in Las Vegas named Durrell Dobson who really believes that anarchy is the only game in town He's sympathetic about the riots but his messages are filled with bizarre personal sex histories terrorism threats an evangelical froth of retribution As Jen and company make their way west they discover a fondness for the goofy tourist sites and the land itself and as Dobson continues to jack up the vengeance rhetoric via e mail Jen has second thoughts Maybe she and Del aren't supposed to be great avengers maybe just seeing the odd and spectacular world around them is important than scratching out Evil Maybe but Dobson is out there and boiling His urgent messages rip veils off his schemes name victims reveal strategies and Jen feels oddly responsible for his fervor How Jen and Del and the others resolve their conflicted interests and the shocking acts they may have encouraged provides the eccentric and nuanced conclusion to this ferocious touching novel of character culture and the media In The Brothers Barthelme went for th Painted Desert

Remember when the nation's greatest worry was the Clenis?It's rare that writing this good is put to such a useless purpose Barthelme wallows in the meaninglessness of early internet newsgroups brand name snack foods and CNN death loopsscandals du jour Floundering about like the most boring road movie ever made it seems Barthelme set out to merely capture a taste of the ennui of the early to mid 90s Well ah gee when you succeed in that kind of game you're also just kind of punishing the reader 9780140242140 A long meandering road trip in the early '90s is the setting for a broad range of views theories and discussion topics The story provides a captivating snapshot of what America looked like in the good old days when we were hooked on television instead of our phones Sharp contrasts between lifestyles and generations as well as rural towns and the 'burbs makes the slow gorgeous writing worth reading and thinking about 9780140242140 pleasantly surprising 9780140242140 I had never read Rick Barthelme until a year or two ago He is one of the few authors who I felt compelled to write after reading Waveland This book however is even amazing It really is a shame that people probably haven't read him or importantly won't go back and read a book like this and think about it in its historical context Rather than being dated by all of its references to OJ and Bill Clinton it serves as uite the testimony to America's mindset before 911 Katrina and social networking When you have the On The Road type trip which moves the characters from a fatalistic world view to experiencing the majesty of the American landscape this makes for a truly wonderful read It may have cracked my top 10 9780140242140 Barthelme launches two characters from his acclaimed novel The Brothers on a wild and haunting road trip into the interactive heart of contemporary American culture Net novitiate Jen and her channel surfing boyfriend Del decide they need step out of cyberspace and take a look at the real world from an online encounter with a psychopath to an epiphany in the Arizona desert Book Description publication Date March 1 1997 9780140242140

This is a seuel to The Brothers It's a better book 9780140242140

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