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Fountain at the Center of the World
Alex Steffen, 1 Feb 04

Robert Newman's Fountain at the Center of the World is getting the kind of rave reviews, from all sorts of quarters, that never would normally never adhere to a political novel about the crimes of globalization, and which make me extremely eager to find out what other people have thought of it. I mean, check out this NYT review:

"All novels are, to some extent, political novels -- that is, they are concerned with the nature and deployment of power. But some novels are pushier about their agendas than others. Take Robert Newman's ''Fountain at the Center of the World.'' It's a mucky title for a sublimely frisky novel, one that throws more acid-tipped darts at Nafta and the World Trade Organization than a foot-high stack of Mother Jones and Nation back issues. Newman's book follows three characters (one in London, one in Mexico, one in Costa Rica) in the years leading up to the 1999 W.T.O. protests in Seattle, and it reads like what you'd get if Tom Wolfe clambered inside the head of Noam Chomsky -- it elegantly and angrily scorches a lot of earth... I wouldn't be surprised, in fact, if ''The Fountain at the Center of the World'' became the talismanic ''Catch-22'' of the antiglobalization protest movement, the fictional complement to Naomi Klein's influential treatise ''No Logo. ... Newman is... a fleet and funny writer -- in a scene set during one protest march, cops don't merely arrest the ''legal observers in lime-green bibs,'' they snatch them ''like a fruit particularly delicious to the gorilla''... The problem with most left-leaning novels is that they're as earnest and mopey as a Sarah McLachlan ballad on a rainy day. ''The Fountain at the Center of the World,'' on the other hand, is as ferocious as a jar of freeze-dried Paul Krugman columns."

Just got a copy. I'll read it this week and report back.

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