Thoughts by Ken Kalfus, Highbridge 2022, 256 pages/ 6 hours 25 minutes, narrated by BJ Harrison
Challenge: for TOB2023, #WiaN2023 – Category punctuation
Genre/Theme: Speculative Fiction
Type/Source: audiobook / Audible
What It’s About: Ron Patterson is American but America is no longer a safe place to live. He is a migrant worker, trying to survive, trying to find a country who will allow him to live within its borders. Americans are often not welcome.
Thoughts: When I said Babel was “ambitious, carefully crafted, clever work”, I could say the same of this; much slighter in size but equally thoughtful of its elements and construction. However, this one needs more discussion and clarification to explain to me what Kalfus was trying to do! or rather, why he chose what he did to tell this story.
Ron comes across as a good guy, trying to keep his head done, to go along to get along and be left alone. But he suffers from faceblindness — usually or only memorably when applied to women. Other reviews state this to be on purpose; to show his confusion and wish that he could go home to America/motherland aka MOTHER. Yet others call this blatant disregard and disrespect for women. I can’t figure out where I stand on trying to understand that dichotomy. It is suggested that the confusion of being a migrant and not having personal identity – to be always grouped into that “MIGRANT = unwanted” category was what Kalfus was attempting to show. Yea, I dunno.
What would happen if America descended into civil war and became a violent unruly unsafe scary place to live? How would the world treat Americans?
This book had violence and many unnamed elements – some places were described but never identified. But Target the retailer and McDonalds, and Skittles even, were named as super-American things of the past. (One review stated that Target is a supporter of the publisher and this was total name placement for marketing purposes! That makes me laugh but I don’t not doubt it!!)
Points in its favor was that I kept listening, I was interested and curious and gave enjoyable time to the THINKING-ABOUT – rather than being frustrated. Weird when that happens, right? Why do some unknowns frustrate and vagueness/confusion in other situations be of intrigue? #shrug
Rating: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned.
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3 thoughts on “2 A.M. in Little America”
I think a book gives you something to think about when it gives you particular details, like “Target” instead of “big box store” or something. Your mind can turn over the details.
It was disorienting (by design) to not have the countries he migrated to and through, though he did drop clues that I am likely not travel-familiar with…. He did mention Canada.
This looks so interesting! I’d probably have to be in the right mood for the vagueness though. Sometimes I just want the author to tell me what’s going on and sometimes I’m up to figuring it out myself.