Big If Paperback – 11 Mar 2004
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'Mark Costello's work should have been born with the words Great American Novel stamped on the front -- Economist Books of the Year
An unclassifiable tour de force thats every bit as absorbing as it is original -- David Foster Wallace
Dazzling Costello has created a thoroughly original universe' -- Jay McInerney, New York Times Book Review
Fans of Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon may begin to think of Mark Costello in their company -- The Wall Street Journal
Mark Costello stakes out territory which you would never have guessed it was vital to read about' -- Jonathan Franzen, author of 'The Corrections'
About the Author
Mark Costello, whose first novel, Bag Men, was written under the name John Flood, lives in New York. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Half a dozen Secret Service members, their spouses, parents, children, and lovers; an equal number of computer programmers for Big If, a multiplayer war game on the Web; and the Vice-President, his staff, and campaign workers constitute a huge cast of characters, but each is so idiosyncratic, and the minutiae of his/her daily life so completely articulated, that the characters are memorable, if not fully developed. As Costello expands his scope beyond that of the campaign, he pokes fun at child-rearing practices, prison work-release programs, the real estate market, the expectations of newly-moneyed trophy wives, the addiction to violent computer games, and even the get-out-the-vote efforts of campaign volunteers.
The reader must be patient with this novel. Plot is not a major concern, as the book meanders through the lives and backgrounds of multiple characters. Vi Asplund, the main character, receives only slightly more emphasis than other characters, and conflict and dramatic action are minimal, dependent more upon the characters' past histories than upon new events. Delightful metaphors ("a tall, soft sofa of a boy," "a snippy poodle kind of sneeze") are sprinkled throughout, but they are sometimes buried in long lists of detail. The humor often feels self-conscious. This is a most unusual novel, one which defies the conventions and pushes the boundaries, and I suspect that few readers will remain neutral about it. Mary Whipple
We were expecting a cross between the West Wing and 24 - oh how disappointed we were!
There were many leading characters and the only one mentioned on the cover, Felker, figured very little. Time and time again you'd get loads of details about a character that never led anywhere. In the case of one of the agents we got a far more graphic description of his sex life than anyone needed - again detail for the sake of it.
We all kept hoping that perhaps something exciting would happen - well it didn't! The only thing remotely exciting happened within the last chapter and even then ended in a damp squib.
If you are looking for an exciting book with Federal Agents gone bad, assasination plots or basically anything even remotely interesting - don't buy this book!
The author missed chance after chance to turn this book around... such a shame.
There will be 8 copies from our book group at a car boot sale near you very soon!
Oh and I think Amazon should introduce a '0 star' rating as I think all in our group would agree that 1 star is being charitably generous.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com