Sacco And Vanzetti Must Die
Review by Willard Manus
isn't a book about the infamous Italian anarchists put to death in 1927
by the U.S. government for the robbery and murder of a factory guard and
paymaster in South Braintree, Mass. Mark Binelli turns the martyrs into
a comedy team patterned after Laurel & Hardy (though the real Sacco
& Vanzetti make cameo appearances), and puts them through a picaresque
and dizzying series of screwball adventures involving the likes of Calvin
Coolidge, Helen Keller, Primo Carnera, Lon Chaney, Ezra Pound and Bob
Hope, to name but a few. This is post-modern literature with a vengeance;
the story spools out in fits and starts, employs journal entries, newspaper
snippets and authorial asides to build its narrative trajectory (much
like a William Burroughs collage). History is toyed with, character as
well, but the exploration of American showbiz, zenophobia and racism gives
the novel a solid underpinning.
(Dalkey Archive Press, $14.95 ppbk).