We're almost finished with The Plot Against America (yes, we're slow, we know but we're reading more than one thing at a time AND turning in screenplays AND writing a book AND blogging AND experiencing some personal upheaval, so shoot us already), and we're pleased to report that it delivers fully on its early chilling promise.
Roth's shrewdest move may be the restraint that he shows throughout. It would have been very easy to play everything large and overwrought but the moves toward American fascism are quiet and incremental (and thus all the more credible) - rather than cattle car deportations to death camps, Jews are "relocated" (with the cooperation of corporate collaborators) to the American heartland to be assimilated and learn American Christian values. Notorious moments, events and places find remarkable parallels. Kristallnacht American style takes the form of a riot in the wake of Walter Winchell's Democratic presidential campaign. In one of the most chilling sequences in the book, young Roth is locked into his upstairs neighbor's tiny bathroom. His resulting panicked attempts to get out - including accidentally triggering an icy shower - are horrifically - and effectively - evocative of death in the gas chambers.
The book will be released in October.