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The Short Reign of Pippin IV

It’s no secret I love Steinbeck. I regularly visit Archives in the hope they have a book of his amongst the ample Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. Last month I found The Short Reign of Pippin IV. Besides telling a story, the pages had the lovely benefit of each falling out as I read them in turn. Who needs a book mark? I will have to use the binding technique utilised by my mother on her copy of 1984; the ancient art of rubber band binding. An no, I am still not any closer to desiring any sort of ebook. My books have personality. This book’s personality just happens to be that of an unstable person. But every village needs the village fool.

This short story I found is in the same vein as The Moon is Down. It is a satirical look at politics and society, acted out by idiosyncratic eccentrics. The Short Reign of Pippin IV is purported as some of Steinbeck’s funniest novellas, however I found The Moon is Down to be much wittier. Having said that, Pippin is full of very clever descriptions and imagery of caucuses, it’s only that the humour is a bit more literal than that found in The Moon Is Down (at least to my mind).

If you’re feeling a bit lazy or can’t get your hands on a copy, the concept (minus the political insights) of the story have been put into a few terrible films, such as King Ralph.

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