It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis | Review
Publishing: Ashland : Blackstone Audio, Inc., and Buck 50 Productions, LLC, 2008 (Originally published 1935)
Pages: 383 | Audio Length: 14 hours 17 minutes
Formats: Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
There are some books that give us hope by the sheer voice of their solidarity. They are the solace we need to survive our darkest hours. I found Sinclair’s It Can’t Happen Here to be such a book. According to a January 2017 article from The New York Times, “within a week of the 2016 election, the book was reportedly sold out on Amazon.com.” Listening to the audiobook version of this 1935 dystopian fantasy (the unabridged reading by Grover Gardner is recommended) while making dinner one evening a full year into our 45th president’s administration, my partner paused in the midst of his garlic chopping duties to ask if we were listening to an actual news report. He had to shortly thereafter leave the kitchen, despair weighing his head down to his chest.
If we could already see the writing on the wall, then why did this book hold for apparently so many readers such an obsessive infatuation? The lyrics of my lady and yours, Ani Di Franco, rang in my ears while exploring this book, with the only relief from the horrors of this cautionary tale seeming to be a sought-after great escape to our inarguably more reasonable sister to the north. The appeal of Lewis’s book, in this reader’s humble opinion, is its exemplification that even the most liberally-minded among us may not immediately recognize a fascist takeover of our beloved land of the free even when it stares straight into our Twitter-haggard eyes. (Although I’m pretty sure the true activists of our society haven’t been deceived yet.) All in all, Lewis’s novel, wonderfully written as well as prophetically contrived, is a comfort if in nothing else but to confirm you’re not going crazy if you find yourself constantly cringing at our current national news.