Sunday, June 12, 2011

20 Books This Year Project: #12, "2030", by Albert Brooks

The thing that made the Albert Brooks film Defending Your Life work so well (forgetting the fact that it was quite funny) was that, despite dealing with something as fantastical and unknown as the afterlife, the whole thing was just so...reasonable. Brooks was able to take a subject that is foreign to all (what happens to us when we die) and created a world that actually seemed somewhat plausible. I mean, it's farfetched, but it's just as possible as a golden gate and angels with harps.

Which brings us to 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America, Brooks' first novel. Brooks runs through the lives of a series of characters while explaining what happens to the federal deficit, health care, the Middle East, communication and technology, and our relationship with China. None of the suggestions of where we'll be in 19 years are out of the realm of possibility; in fact, many of them make perfect sense.

Brooks' writing style is very similar to that of Steve Martin's - both write in an effortless, elegant style that makes their works quite readable. Despite both having careers in stand-up, they avoid going for the easy, cheap laugh and trust the intelligence of the reader.

There could have been a little more development of a couple of the characters (specifically that of a Chinese health care magnate who quickly adjusts to the American lifestyle), but overall it's a very good read. GRADE: A-

(P.S. Maybe the Criterion Collection could do a Blu-ray of Defending Your Life, please?)

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