Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World

Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World

3.69 (910 ratings by Goodreads)
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"A dark, suburban fantasy . . . richly funny, even whimsical, and bizarrely familiar." --The New Yorker

In the seaside community of Donald Antrim's Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World, the citizens are restless. The mayor has fired stinger missiles into the Botanical Garden reflecting pool, and his public execution was a messy affair. As these hawkish suburbanites fortify their houses with deadly moats and land mines, a former third-grade teacher named Pete Robinson steps forward with a tenuous bid to replace the mayor. But can anyone satisfy the terrible will of the people? By turns funny and phantasmagorical, fiercely intelligent and imaginative, Donald Antrim's story of suburban civics turned macabre is a new American classic.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 164 pages
  • 137.16 x 208.28 x 15.24mm | 113.4g
  • Picador USA
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0312662106
  • 9780312662103
  • 882,358

About Donald Antrim

Donald Antrim is the critically acclaimed author of Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World, The Hundred Brothers, and The Verificationist, as well The Afterlife, a memoir about his mother. A regular contributor to The New Yorker, he has also been the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Grant and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Public Library. He lives in New York City.
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Back cover copy

Pete Robinson never meant to suggest the drawing -and-quartering of Mayor Kunkel, although he did mention that Toyotas and Subarus might make excellent substitutes for horses. But, after all, the fact that Mayor Jim Kunkel had first fired Stinger missiles into the Botanical Garden reflecting pool, massacring innocent picnickers, did require some kind of response. In this lovely seaside community, Turtle Pond Park is stocked with claymore mines and most houses are fronted by moats swimming with water moccasins or pits filled with wooden spikes.Amid all this bedlam, Pete Robinson, former third-grade teacher and amateur medievalist with a 1:32 scale model Inquisition-era interrogation chamber in his basement, has an epiphany: he should run for mayor. Here, in Donald Antrim's first novel, are the elements that have made him one of the most critically acclaimed writers of our day: the unerringly astute and skewed observations, the precise and brilliant language, and the uncanny ability to create wildly funny narrative out of the margins of our culture.
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Flap copy

In his first novel, Elect Mr. Robinson For a Better World, Donald Antrim demonstrates all of the skill that critics have hailed in his subsequent work: the pitch-perfect ear, the cunning imagination, and the uncanny control of a narrative at once familiar and incandescently strange. In Pete Robinson's seaside suburban town, things have, well, fallen into disrepair. The voters have de-funded schools, the mayor has been drawn and quartered by an angry mob of townsmen, and Turtle Pond Park is stocked with claymore mines. Pete Robinson, third grade teacher with a 1:32 scale model of an Inquisition dungeon in his basement, wants to open a new school, and in his effort to do so he stumbles upon another idea: he needs to run for mayor. Uniquely hilarious, this novel is a horrifyingly insightful tale of a world not so very different from the one in which we live.
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Review quote

Entertaining and mischievously imagined . . . Antrim is a wonderful, truly original comic writer. San Francisco Chronicle

A slice of sulfurous whimsy You are draw in because of the depth of human feeling that Antrim smuggles in almost below the radar level. The New York Times

The author's surreal vision is both imaginative and wholly his own . . . A striking literary discovery. The Boston Globe

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Rating details

910 ratings
3.69 out of 5 stars
5 23% (209)
4 38% (350)
3 27% (249)
2 8% (72)
1 3% (30)
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