Iain Emsley
July 30 - Aug 6, 2003

In a near future, giant American corporations run the world, taxes have been abolished and employees take their corporation's name for their surname. Hack Nike, a lowly merchandising officer whose career is going nowhere, is given a promotional opportunity to join the marketing department. He is less than pleased at what this involves - shooting some teenagers to market extremely expensive trainers. When he takes this plan to the police, they undertake the contract and source it out to the National Rifle Association. During the shooting, Jennifer Government tries to prevent the carnage but is injured instead, deciding to go after the corporation concerned and taking on John Nike, head of guerilla marketing. Beginning in the US territory of Australia and moving to Britain, the chase sees Jennifer Government and John Nike continually up the ante as the struggle between them becomes increasingly bitter.

Jennifer Government is a sharp fictionalisation of many of the concerns of Naomi Klein's books and hits its targets with unerring accuracy and wit. The world is refashioned into a deeply frightening place that is immediately familiar.

Hack is a brilliant naif, who reacts with increasing incredulity to the insanity unfolding around him, giving this satire of greed and consumerism the human edge that makes it so very readable. Barry never loses sight of his characters, making them more than mere ciphers.

Jennifer Government moves with a verve and pace that must make it one of the reads of the summer.