Yates is a Futurist. Which is to say, he makes a very good living flying around the world dispensing premonitory wisdom, a.k.a. pre-packaged B.S., to world governments, corporations, and global leadership conferences. He is an optimist by trade and a cynic by choice. He's the kind of man who can give a lecture on successive days to a leading pesticide manufacturer and the Organic Farmers of America, and receive standing ovations at both. But just as the American Empire is beginning to fray around the edges, so too is Yates' carefully scripted existence. On the way to the Futureworld Conference in Johannesburg he opens a handwritten note from his girlfriend, informing him she's left him for a fifth-grade history teacher. Then he witnesses a soccer riot in which five South Africans are killed, to the chagrin of the South African P.R. people at Futureworld. Fueled by a heroic devastation of his minibar and inspired by the rookie hooker sent to his hotel room by his hosts, Yates composes a spectacularly career-ending speech at Futureworld, the delivery of which leads to a sound beating, a meeting with some quasi-governmental creeps, and a hazy mission to go around the world answering the question Why does everyone hate us? Thus begins an absolutely original novel that is driven by equal parts corrosively funny satire, genuine physical fear, and heartfelt moral anguish. From the hideously ugly Greenlander nymphomaniacal artist to the gay male-model spy to the British corporate magnate with a taste for South Pacific virgin sacrifice rituals, The Futurist manages to be wildly entertaining and deadly serious at the same time. Wry, picaresque, and a wicked barb aimed at all that is fatuous,The Futuristis the story of a pundit who finds his audience when he proclaims he knows nothing.
Toronto : Doubleday Canada, 2006.
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