Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Adam Thorpe's top 10 satires

Adam Thorpe is a poet, playwright and novelist. He selected a top ten list of satires for the Guardian. Most of his picks were written by men long dead.

One possible reason for that, according to Thorpe:
"Satirists have it hard, these days. They can barely match the truth. And shallow satire is no good at all; it is merely cynical, as husked of all value as the average TV chat show and its meaningless laughter. Good, deep satire has both rage and compassion behind it - along with the hope of something better."
Only one title on his list is by a living writer -- who happens to be the only woman on the list:
Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk

There are few books that nail the futility of our consumerist mores so that they bleed. This is one of them. Set in a prosperous new English suburb, it has the subdued rage of all effective satire, yet Cusk's control of language is supreme. Even its rather Woolfian cruelty - little children are favourite targets - only improves the relish.
Read the entire list.

--Marshal Zeringue