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The Great Perhaps

by Joe Meno

Set against the run-up to the 2004 US presidential election, this feels like a typical family saga given a wacky make-over. Surrealistic overtones to the usual scenario of dysfunctional parents/rebellious children took me aback at first, then made me smile. But all these disparate threads finally came together, interwoven with the grandfather's moving story, to give me an unexpected emotional fix. Just don't expect the Waltons !

Extract

'When can my daughter come back to school?'
'We expect to see her on Monday the twenty fifth.'
'That's more than a week.'
'Your daughter called me a savage. And a dickwad, Mr Casper. If it wasn't for her outstanding grades, we would be looking at possible expulsion.'
Jonathan nods, scratching his beard. 'Okay.' He stands up and looks around the terrible little office. 'I want you to know I'm taking my daughter to get Chinese food right now. Cantonese. I think what she did was wrong but I don't think punishing her makes any sense at all.'
'Well, we'll see her on Monday the twenty fifth, regardless.'

Parallels

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
American Beauty - the film
 

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