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The Brief And Frightening Reign Of Phil by George Saunders (2005)

Finished: 4/8/21


Grade: A

The Nation of Inner Horner is so small that only one of its non-human residents can live within it at a time. One day Inner Horner shrinks, and the Inner Hornerite in residence begins to jut out into Outer Horner. The Outer Hornerites, believing they are under attack and guided by an emotionally unstable non-human named Phil, begin to retaliate against the defenseless Inner Hornerites.


A darkly comic minimalist deconstruction of a nation’s decent into fascism. (and I mean DARKLY comic, like 90% darkly and 10% comic).

At its core this is a book about power. The exponential way that power begets more power, and the frustrating ways that power can corrupt justice, ideas and even the truth.

People on the internet call this book “a parable” and I know it’s a successful parable because I was reading it like: “Ok. I get it. This is about Trump” but then I realized that this book was written 14 years before old DT was elected president. Wow! History sure repeats itself, huh?


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