Traitors and unflagging loyalty: everything American is at a ...

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Traitors and unflagging loyalty: everything American is at a fever pitch

An extract from the short stories in Matthew Baker’s innovative collection 'Why Visit America'

Matthew Baker

With the US elections just round the corner everything American seems to be full of tension and excitement. And so are the short stories in Matthew Baker’s collection Why Visit America (Bloomsbury). They are innovative, fresh tales, slightly skewed – sort of a Stranger Things meets Black Mirror vibe. Baker’s America is riven by dilemmas confronting so many of us – from old age to consumerism, drugs to internet culture – turned on its head. Here’s an extract:

The origins of this great nation

There wasn’t anything special about us. We were just an average town. Porch swings, wading pools, split-rail fences, pumpjacks bobbing for oil on the horizon. Meetings at town hall were well attended, sure, but we weren’t some hotbed of insurgents. We didn’t subscribe to any one brand of politics. We couldn’t even be plotted onto your basic left-right binary. Our town had everything: pro-lifers who supported gay marriage, pro-choicers who opposed gay marriage, climate-change deniers who owned solar panels, universal-healthcare campaigners who preferred private insurance, creationists with degrees in biology and geology, internet pirates whose views were unique to say the least, loyal conservatives, staunch liberals, moderates, radicals, and ornery retirees whose only real issue was guns. ..

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