Book Notes: Feria by Ana Iris Simón

I don’t read books to see my ideas reflected back at me. I read to experience the sublime enjoyment of art. The political beliefs of the author are of no consequence.

It is an interesting feeling, however, when a work of literature combines a great literary talent with all of my favorite ideas about the importance of the nation-state, the falsity of choice feminism, the hypocrisy of woke beliefs on mass migration, the evils of fluidity, and the trap of neoliberalism. Ana Iris Simón, a 28-year-old writer from “some place in La Mancha whose name I don’t care to remember,” wrote precisely such a novel. I share so many sensibilities with Simón, it’s not even funny. When she writes, for instance, what it feels like to be a person from the plains, I totally get it. For me, the endless expanse of the sky over a field is the only landscape I perceive as the right one.

A colleague said that Feria was the first book he read this year, and it made him sad because he knew he wasn’t going to read anything better all year. Because it’s not possible to read anything better. The colleague is right. This is a beautiful book. Big ideas, big feelings, great writing.

The novel has already sold out. People are hunting after remaining copies. Of course, the wokesters are off their nut over the novel. “Fascist! LePenist! Falangist!” they scream. This, of course, drives more readers to the novel because everybody is tired of the wokester idiocy.

I have a lot of optimism about the generation of today’s 20-30-year-olds who are growing immune to the leftist screeching about fascists. I’m telling you, folks, the woke madness ends the moment we great all of their “systemic inequities and white privileges” not with reverential silence but with a scoff.

No, the novel hasn’t been translated yet but if there continues to be enough hype (as there should be), I believe it will.

Whose Culture?

Thinking further about my friend from Togo, here is a list of characteristics that describes him to a T:

  • Survivor mentality that focuses on the future
  • A tendency to rugged individualism
  • A can-do attitude
  • Operating from principles and conscience
  • Focus on hard work, action, and task completion
  • Striving toward success and materialism
  • Measured moderation and silent strength
  • Focus on status and rank over connection

But as I read the list, I discover that it’s supposed to represent “white male culture [from] the British Isles.” My friend is obviously not white. And he’s from the French Togoland, not British. I wouldn’t give him the link to this list because it’s insulting. What, black people don’t have principles or a conscience? How is that portrait of Hitler on your wall doing, buddy?

Before anybody criticizes this particular link for not being the true expression of the woke ideology, there is a million of identical links from a million wokester organizations. Leftism has turned into something truly disgusting.

Career Path

I can tell you how the friend from Togo got where he is before the age of forty. He came to the US, found the cheapest school (mine), got a pharmacy degree, worked a million jobs to pay for it, graduated without debt, got a $100,000 job (pharmacy is lucrative), lived on $40,000, saved the rest, had enough to buy his own pharmacy in 10 years.

When I first came to the pocky little apartment where he lived with his wife and child, I was stunned to see a large hand-written, detailed chart of his life for the next 5 years. He told me he works on the chart every day. His dream is to go back to his country and start a chain of pharmacies in remote rural areas. At first, I confess, I thought he was a fantasist. But now I see him hitting every goal on the chart, and it’s really amazing.

American Dream Is Alive

I don’t know why people keep saying that the American dream is dead. I have a friend who came here from Togo with nothing. Last year he bought his own pharmacy and has a second kid on the way.

Another friend is from Benin. She is now a nurse and has 4 kids.

Another friend is from Mexico. Also came from dire poverty. She also has 4 kids, her Mexican husband works at a bank, and she recently bought a restaurant.

These stories aren’t from 20 years ago. The friends are all younger than me and the stories are very recent. I chose very non-white examples so that nobody can tell me it’s only easy for whites. (For instance, I know a 30-year-old white woman who was born right here, grew up on food stamps, and now has a really fancy job, lives in a very fancy place, and expects her first child but this kind of story doesn’t have the same effect as the other ones.)

If this isn’t the American dream, then I don’t know what is. None of these people had it easy. It all took a lot of work, saving, and sacrifices but look at the results. Where else is all this possible? OK, in Canada. But that’s kind of it.