Reviewed by Molly Martin
Something Is Rotten in Fettig
by Jere Krakow
Anaphora Literary Press
Pages: 276, 2015, ISBN-13: 9781681141978
Jere Krakoff’s Something is Rotten in Fettig wittily satirizes a legal system that is very similar to our own and is practiced in a fabricated nation simply called Republic. The author names and uses a varied assemblage of distinctive player including lawyers, witnesses, the court system and judges, as well as trials and jury behaviors to deride countless of the activities we often see played on the evening news, or during trials themselves thought so noteworthy that they must be filmed in real time for the nation to consider.
The narrative begins with reader’s introduction to Leopold Plotkin around whom the tale unfolds. The infamous kosher butcher has been accused of Crimes against the Republic. From his pro bono lawyer, Bernard Talisman, right on to parents who have already packed his personal possessions, to his uncles who have promised to visit him in prison every third weekend and to The Monthly Contrarian a little read journal who, while considering Plotkin a hero, however had declared in editorial: “Regrettably, there is no realistic possibility for an acquittal” right to Plotkin himself; it appears that everyone seems to think Plotkin will be convicted.
Krakoff presents the travesty wreaked by local legal officials upon one of the neighborhood kosher butchers, Leopold Plotkin, a fellow who harbors a nearly pathological distaste for strife when the man unintentionally foments a predicament of such magnitude that he is propelled into a clash with every area of government.
To complicate matters Plotkin rebuffs every effort undertaken to force him to disengage his supposed transgression. Plotkin and his family are introduced and some of the background for Plotkin’s behavior is presented before the reader becomes a courtroom spectator as Plotkin is put on trial by a deceitful Prosecutor General.
The reader learns more of Plotkin and the varied characters peopling the work: there is Prosecutor General Umberto Malatesta’s Opening Rant, Plotkin’s Childhood Education under the tutelage of librarian Hinta Gelb and his Venturing out with Ana Bloom before the reader embarks on a whirlwind in which Plotkin is Conscripted into the Butcher Shop, gets Arrested, is Imprisoned in Purgatory, is visited by family and friends and is Exiled along with Chicken Plucker.
Indicted by a Secret Blind Jury leads to Plotkin’s arrest by the National Constabulary, before he is delivered to the infamous Purgatory House of Detention where he is to be housed with lunatics and other miscreants of the state until such time as his trial and expected guilt are determined.
The reader becomes an onlooker into the Trial of Plotkin as the Jury is selected and empaneled, opening Sermon and Rant, umm statements, are offered, witnesses testify, Prosecution and Defense offer closing Diatribes and the jury deliberates and finally offers a verdict.
Interspersed throughout the book are marvelous, author drawn, pen and ink caricatures of many of the characters introduced in the work. My personal favorites of the caricatures are those of his uncles Moishe and Misha Plotkin and the one of Ana Bloom.
Characters are well developed, many are despicable and familiar, taking their cue from so-called experts that rant in the public view on television. This fast paced work is filled with good writing, presented in highly readable prose. The author has woven a thoroughly enjoyable view of some of the behind-the-scenes machinations from broadcast TV.
Something is Rotten In Fettig details the plotting and maneuvering taking place by the prosecution, authorities and others in their determination to find Plotkin guilty of something. All in all I found Something is Rotten In Fettig to be a very enjoyable, easy to read, simply fun work.
Reviewed by Molly’s Reviews