Last year, Australian author Charles Firth travelled to the US to write an extremely earnest tome entitled Empire, that, he promised his publishers, would be extremely definitive, and at least 1300 pages long. Unfortunately, upon arriving Charles discovered that the book he’d envisaged was far too much work. So instead he wrote American Hoax.
Over six months, Charles invented five fictional American characters – each of whom represents a different point of view in American politics – and sent them out into the real world to see how successful they would be.
Charles’ hypothesis was simple: whichever character got the furthest in America’s fiercely competitive marketplace of ideas would win. Would it be the conservative economist, the national security consultant, the left-liberal advertising executive, the working-class white trash or the Muslim poet?
The result is a compelling tale of an Australian ‘outsider’ coming to grips with America, Americans and the American dream, by confronting real Americans with their own rhetoric. Along the way, you’ll share in each character’s hilarious triumphs and tragic setbacks. You’ll share Charles’ frustration as he meets more and more real Americans who are even more fictional than the people he has invented, and others who just cannot see any irony in Charles’ satirical characters.
If you’ve ever wondered how far a conservative economist can go in the land of opportunity using Google, a fake email account and a really bad American accent, then you’re a strange person – but this is the book for you.