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May 4, 2009 | by  | in Books | [ssba]

Manifesto – Various Authors

I’ve been travelling, which, as an avid reader without a lot of spare time, has given me opportunities to catch up on some couch-time with a few good books. Coincidentally, I also did some sight seeing and bought a new book along the way. So I’m going to start by reviewing the book I acquired last, then maybe move on to the others as time goes by.

The acquisition concerned was made in Real Groovy, Auckland—not that I regularly plug businesses, but this one has survived a few rough patches recently (go google it!) and I admire the pluck of the local staff who are keeping the stores going—both in Auckland and in Wellington, I might add. It’s not your average bookstore, which means you sometimes find absolutely amazing stuff like Manifesto, a slim, cheaply published volume by that prolific writer, anon, whose work has stood the test of centuries.

Ok, joking aside, this wee tome has kept me amused for something like a fortnight, as I dip into it and read a few pages whenever the holiday got boring. It reads like something out of Hunter S. Thompson, mixed with 24-Hour Party People, and a sliver of nihilism of the first water. It comes with a photocopied blurb page (which doubles as a handy bookmark, for the totally relaxed slacker), explaining the derivations and influences behind the narrative; quite a good reading list that is, too.

Then it’s just stream-of-consciousness rants about the state of the USA today, from the POV of a privileged, white, middle-class, educated, male subject. Who takes in a ton of alcohol and drugs, and drifts from one place to another, working when he has to, bumming couches, cigarettes, rides in trains/buses, rooms in hotels, all the while exuding an existential angst not seen since the masters of the genre, Sartre and Gide, were writing during the occupation of Paris in WWII.

We live in interesting times, my young friends, and this book describes the failure of a generation to motivate their children to take on the mighty ‘benefits’ of capitalism, a younger generation who have woken up to the purposelessness of excessive consumption long before their parents, or even the markets, were aware of the crash to come; there are phrases of almost prophetic intensity, and I was drawn into a sense of compassion for the total disillusionment exhibited within these pages.

I doubt very much that this book is the work of one author—there are passages which appear to describe conflicting realities, the backstories have a multiplicity of derivations, and there is a sense that this is a genuine attempt to provide a ‘voice of America’ to their peers in other countries.

The writers can be contacted at, or via snail mail in Northampton, MA; they have a website listing stockists at, which does suggest an elaborate creative writing program manifesto. Possibly even a desperate attempt to be invited to a post-grad writing program… someone call Bill Manhire?


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  1. lol says:


  2. Margo Montgomery says:

    Honestly, I think this book is pure brilliance. =). I think it’s voice is one everyone should take the time to listen to. It’s definetly something I’d recommend to the world as a whole, to youth and the elderly and everyone that falls inbetween. It’s meaningful, which many books attempt but more often than not lack.

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