Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not

Amy Sedaris; Paul Dinello; Stephen Colbert

Published by Hachette Books, 2003
ISBN 10: 0786868120 / ISBN 13: 9780786868124
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Synopsis: Wigfield is a town in danger. Built directly in front of a massive dam, this bucolic hideaway will soon be flooded when the dam is torn down by the state government to restore the salmon run. Wigfield's only hope lies in the self-righteous, self-aggrandizing, self-involved 'journalist' Russell Hokes, who arrives hoping to capture the quiet dignity of the disappearing American Small Town. However, Wigfield is neither quiet nor dignified. And as the date of Wigfield's destruction draws nearer, Hokes casts about like a cork in a typhoon desperate to find something about Wigfield worth documenting--or saving. Told through interviews with its many colorful residents, and accompanied by photos of the authors in character, Wigfield is a razor-sharp satire by three major talents.

Review: Wigfield is in peril. The Bulkwaller Dam, which towers over the tiny town, is scheduled to be destroyed which would in turn wipe out Wigfield. Journalist Russell Hokes travels there to profile the brave and honest citizens who are struggling to save their community. Well, sort of. Actually, Wigfield is not so much a town as a series of ramshackle strip clubs and used-auto-parts stores, lacking any kind of civic infrastructure whatsoever. And its people are not so much "brave and honest" as "brutal," "homicidal," and "lacking any redeeming virtue whatsoever." Similarly, to call Hokes, who narrates his own struggles to gather accumulate 50,000 words, a "journalist" is at best an exaggeration and at worst an abomination against the institution of journalism itself.

The world of Wigfield, as concocted by the brilliant Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, and Amy Sedaris (creators of the Comedy Central series Strangers with Candy), is somewhat reminiscent of the slice-of-life small-town humor of Christopher Guest's Waiting for Guffman. But instead of putting on a musical, as the Guffman folks did, the people of Wigfield busy themselves trying to acquire government handouts and stabbing each other to death. When the government rebuffs their efforts, based on the fact that they're not technically a town, they come up with a plan to get paid anyway. Wigfield's residents (as played by Colbert, Dinello, and Sedaris) are portrayed in a series of compellingly grotesque portraits by renowned designer and photographer Todd Oldham. The humor of the book--much like the town's mentality--is dense, as nearly every sentence contains one or several grimly hilarious references. Fans of feel-good whimsy are advised to navigate toward lighter fare but social pariahs, disgraced journalists, brooding malcontented sociopaths, and anyone who enjoys dark, twisted, and profoundly funny writing will find a home in Wigfield. --John Moe

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Title: Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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