The Peaceful Affair
The Peaceful Affair is an utterly mad book, yet in a most delightful way. In its whimsical, yet shrewd delight of poking holes in a political satire, this novel shares an ancestry with The Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup, much of the work of S. J. Perlman and one can throw in Peter De Vries as well, except Moshe Sipper is not quite as incendiary as De Vries. Instead, Sipper’s writing has what one might call a jovial warmth to it.
As to the narrative, this is a political detective story. The most secret and sacred of documents in a sort of Bizarro world United States of America are what is termed The War Treaties. Essentially a compendium of all the alliances, truces and ‘don’t do that!’ papers, when totalled they list the agreements between the U.S. and 57 countries with which it is at war and another 112 with which the nation is in a temporary truce. Given that a quick check of Google shows that there are only 193 countries in total in the world, that means that Sipper’s USA is, or has been, engaged in hostilities with all but 24. Surely an oversight.
The problem, however, is The War Treaties have been stolen. Oh dear. Naturally, the investigation of such a theft requires the absolute top level of investigatory agencies. The FBI? No, not quite. The CIA? Well, they’re an overseas thing, really. The NSA? Bit busy, I’m afraid. Instead, the President calls in one Noro Myx, a private detective. That name is almost a perfect anagram of Oxymoron, in case you hadn’t noticed.
Yes, one might say, but isn’t it ridiculous that such a high-priority espionage case would ever be turned over to a private eye? Of course it is, and that is precisely the point of satire, reductio ad absurdum, the use of wild imagination to illustrate simple truths. The truth here is that the world is, you guessed it, mad. A President named John Doe, who works in a Triangular Office (instead of Oval) which is not even triangular and also marked with a plaque that looks a whole lot like the S on Superman’s chest. From there, off we go on the merriest of merry-go-rounds.
If you enjoy a good laugh, you’ll certainly find plenty of them here. If you enjoy a you’ll certainly find plenty of them here.