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.
While reading SNOWBALL’S CHANCE, one plays this terrifying guessing game of animal á clef: which animal am I? Which animal is my neighbor? Which animal is my enemy? Written in lucid, wise, funny, fable-prose, this book brings to mind Spiegelman’s Maus—the use of a playful metaphor to reveal truths we might otherwise refuse to see.
John Reed challenges us deeply with his elegant September 11 updating of Orwell's ANIMAL FARM. It is a savage satire directed at awakening us from the long nightmare of our response to al Qaeda terrorism, and somehow manages to be entertaining along the way.
The novel transcends its particular circumstances … Snowball’s gambit is to turn the farm into a giant spectacle of happiness, and his Animal Fair represents more than just a place: it names an entire ethos.
—Craig Epplin, Guernica
As brainy as it is base, destructive as it is innovative.
—Los Angeles Review
Reed's tale, crafted amid ground zero's dust, is chilling in its clarity and inspired in its skewering of Orwell's stilted style. Whether you liked or loathed the original, there's no denying Reed has captured the state of the farm today.
—Jay Macdonald, Fort Myers News-Press
This book has something to upset almost everyone who reads it, just like a good book should.
—Dennis Loy Johnson
Reed skewers our early 21st century (edgy, tragic, absurd) with a marvelously precise wit.
—Faren Miller, Locus Magazine
Fearless, provocative, and both reverent and irreverent at the same time.
—Robert Lopez, WordRiot
One of the keenest thinkers of our time.
—Shathley Q, PopMatters
Charming but obnoxious.
—Lisa Nuch Venbrux, Popmatters