I’m certain I’m the last person to have read this book, though it’s been at the top of my list since before it came out and she read from it in Providence in the spring of 2002. I remember then I –and it seemed like everyone I knew- was still so stunned by the events of the fall of ’01 and the proliferation of flags and the tough act our government was putting on for the world.. and while we were bewildered, Gladman’s vision cut right through this: to a microcosm of activists who are both uncertain and undeterred. At one point in reading I thought, “when people want to be inspired by words it’s really a desparate time, perhaps they have already given up.” The action here is of human relation and its sustenance of subtexts.. that when characters actually speak out loud it is like a tracery weapon- precise in its own right but revealing every contrast of truth made by its very existence.
At one point a reporter says, ”Now speech is hardly noteworthy. It’s only what one has thought.” Perhaps there was much to predetermine this, but it’s only now that some public debate has begun- 3 years after the invasion of Iraq- about the media presenting white house p.r. as factual news, the unseemly process by which preemption was justified, the choreography of “leaks”.. that average readers like myself can read this and marvel at Gladman’s perceptiveness in her ability to wage the insurgent efforts of a handful of characters who doubt themselves and one another at every turn just slightly less than they distrust a speaker who says, “We are all one.. against an abomidable enemy.”