by John Reed
Snowball’s Chance is a wildly scathing, landmark novel by New York author John Reed. Written in lower Manhattan, near Ground Zero, in the three weeks following September 11, Reed’s story is surprisingly populated, not by Americans and Islamists, but by a motley array of farm and woodland animals who act out American history and its fallout. Reed’s novel addresses the events of last year concisely and precisely to target the follies of today’s entrepreneurs and religionists alike.
George Orwell’s Animal Farm told a wry and sardonic fable of communism in a dystopic collective farm. Snowball’s Chance parodies Orwell by firing a broadside at the casino economy and the culture of the good life. In a brilliantly conceived and executed riposte to the marketplace’s unthinking cheerleaders, Reed’s Snowball, the Pig ousted from the Animal Farm for rationality, returns to bring marketeering to the farm.
At first Snowball’s regime prospers: heated stalls, running water, and a window for each animal. The farm moves away from its agricultural roots as Snowball and his team of educated Goats recreate Animal Farm as Animal Fair, replete with citizen performers and criminal sideshows.
With clarity, style, and humor, Reed takes on the legacy of Orwell’s famous novel and the boardrooms of the transnational corporations. In doing so he spins a book that is witty, readable, and better targeted than a “precision” bomb. Continuing a tradition which extends from Aesop to Art Spiegelman, Snowball’s Chance uses a playful fiction to ask very serious and often dangerous questions.
Publication date: November 2002