NOW READING: All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
Not just about politics, All the King's Men is so far a whirlwind of hotels, speakeasies, hot days full of bothered crowds, and long drives through the Louisiana night into one scandal or another. It is also a bit of a study of who takes charge of the law, making a reader question the very nature of government, power, relationships, and how those things intertwine. Robert Penn Warren does not flinch at the wild nature of man, and I might add that he is the master of spinning a phrase that really captures the inner, conflicted essence of people who seek power as they try to figure out who they are.
It's thrillingly cynical about the law, which I rather enjoy:
"'No,' the Boss corrected, 'I'm not a lawyer. I know some law. In fact, I know a lot of law. But I'm not a lawyer. That's why I can see what the law is like. It's like a single-bed blanket on a double bed and three folks in the bed and a cold night. There ain't ever enough blanket to cover the case, no matter how much pulling and hauling, and somebody is always going to nigh catch pneumonia. Hell, the law is like the pants you bought last year for a growing boy, but it is always this year and the seams are popped and the shankbone's to the breeze. The law is always too short and too tight for growing humankind...'" - p. 204
On that note, and thinking about the very concept of a speakeasy, I must say that I still cannot for the love of all that is holy believe that there was ever Prohibition. Ever. Just, no. And by the way I wish those who refuse to listen to the "Legalize It" movement to let marijuana be legal would clue into the ridiculousnes, too.