Book Talk: Inside the angry mind of an anarchist

Thu Nov 3, 2011 5:27am EDT
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By Chelsea Emery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The sweet smell of mint opens "The Oregon Experiment" but it is the acrid fumes of gasoline which pervade and ignite Keith Scribner's new book.

The novel brings together a young and angry anarchist named Clay with Scanlon Pratt, a professor of radical politics, and his wife Naomi, a professional "nose" who has lost her sense of smell.

Clay targets nearby banks with homemade bombs, a local secessionist pushes for separation from the United States and the husband and wife provoke their own personal problems. But even as the characters awaken chaos, they crave security and peace.

Scribner talked to Reuters about the origins of his novel, his research into the sense of smell and why the lack of good shoes is keeping anarchists from bringing down the U.S. government.

Q: What inspired the book?

A: "My wife and I had just had our first child when the World Trade Organization had their meetings in Seattle, which led to the (1999) riots and demonstrations there.

"(Our son) was just three months old and I had an idea for a character who had sympathy for the goals of the demonstrators but also wanted a safe and secure society for the baby to grow up in. That basic conflict began the novel."

Q: How did you research anarchists?   Continued...