Monday, 11 January 2016

Book review - The Socialist, by Calvin Wolf

This fine novel falls squarely into a genre which I call literary activism.

I am always banging on about how a novelist must never preach, how it is sufficient to hold up undesirable behaviours in all their ugliness and stupidity, to show the good, and in reviewing The Socialist I feel vindicated in my position. There is not a word of irritating preaching in the entire book, yet I can hardly believe anyone could fail to be persuaded of the ultimate truth and goodness of a socialist society after reading it. It is a fine piece of work indeed.

Unlike the other books of Wolf's that I have read, this one confines itself to a single point of view and first person narrative, and in this format the author has found his strength. The narrating character is finely drawn, and there are times when one hardly draws breath as one follows his deserved fall and then his redemption. Aside from the book's moral and political payload, it is a riveting, exciting piece of fiction, beautifully written.

I have no criticism of this fine book. I would like to see it made required reading in every high school.

The Socialist is available from SMASHWORDS, and at the time of writing is free.

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