Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance
It's nice to imagine Bill McKibben (The End of Nature; Oil and Honey) enjoying some chuckles writing Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance, his first novel. After 13 books and decades of work on the environment and climate change, Radio Free Vermont is both a madcap story of Vermonters engaging in civil disobedience and "the beginning of a movement."
Reminiscent of Edward Abbey's 1975 Monkey Wrench Gang, McKibben's novel brings comedy to the chaos of the post-November 2016 United States with the laugh-out-loud antics of a group of quirky Green Mountain patriots. Vern is a wanted man following a tiff with his former radio station employer and a debacle involving a Walmart opening and a sewer line. He broadcasts his Vermont secession message from his hideout in the woods, the house of an activist named Sylvia, with the help of his enthusiastic assistant, young computer whiz Perry. Olympic biathlon medalist Trance's skiing and sharpshooting complete the ornery group's skills. Arrests, a house fire, high-speed ski chases and ongoing broadcasts climax in a hilarious scene and the cocky governor's comeuppance--a battle won, but the war goes on.
McKibben's message is clear in his epilogue: "When confronted by small men doing big and stupid things, we need to resist with all the creativity and wit we can muster, and if we can do so without losing the civility that makes life enjoyable, then so much the better." --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, manager, Book Passage, San Francisco