My name is Michael Honig. I’m a writer, mostly of satire, occasionally of other things.
I started life as a doctor, professionally speaking (I know, technically speaking, I started as a baby, or an embryo, or a pair of overactive gametes, or even as a glint in God’s eye, depending on how much of an anti-Choice nutcase you happen to be). The tragicomedy of my life as a doctor impelled me eventually to write a … tragicomedy. I had a gift, I was told, for homing in on the misery in life and uncovering its absurdity, only to make everything seem even more miserable. Gifts, huh? They’re like family – you can’t choose.
Anyway, having written one book, I then decided to deploy this deplorable talent to write a second one, this time looking at the lighter side to life in Russia. Quickly discovering that there is no lighter side to life in Russia, I reverted to type. If you want misery, Russia’s your place. Ditto for absurdity. Ditto for one of the most evil autocrats on the planet who is guilty of genocide (the Chechens), murder (his opponents), and the institutionalization of personal corruption on a scale that, as a petty KGB officer stationed in Germany, he could never have dreamed of when the Berlin wall came down and he was making panicky calls to Moscow to send someone to rescue him. Unfortunately, someone did.
My next opus, Larry, is a novel that I am blogging on this website about a certain occupant of the White House because … well, what satirist alive today can not write something about him?
But alas, life isn’t all about poking fun at murderous dictators and the various monsters, miscreants and misfits who seek to rule our lives. Sigh … If only it was! I do occasionally have a serious thought. The Globalist Blogs, which you’ll also find on this site, are a series of reflections on the processes that are transforming us into a planetary civilisation. In case you’re wondering – I think that’s a good thing.
THE GLOBALIST BLOGS
Human civilisation is globalising. Sub-civilisations of our species are becoming increasingly familiar with each other, values are being shared, common problems are being identified, cooperation is developing to deal with them. We like to think it’ s new, but it isn’t. The discovery of America by Europe in the fifteenth century was a moment of globalisation (although not necessarily in a good way!). The invention of the telegraph in the nineteenth century was another moment. The establishment of the United Nations out of the Second World War was another. The difference now is that the moments of globalisation are coming so thick and fast that they have blurred into a continuous, self-reinforcing process. It’s being resisted in numerous ways, and yet it proceeds.
At the moment, the process of globalisation that we are living through is a bit like what a caterpillar undergoes as it pupates into a butterfly. The caterpillar learns what it’s going to change into only as it happens. Right now, we’re all inside the cocoon. The Globalist Blogs are a series of reflections on what it means to be there.
Inauguration Day … Into the White House steps a new president, the like of which the world has never seen. But unbeknownst to him – unbeknownst to any previous occupant of the Oval Office – he is being watched, even in his most private moments. The painting of George Washington that hangs above the Oval Office fireplace not only stares, but sees. It not only listens, but hears. And so begins the most unlikely of confrontations, between the Father of the Republic and the half-showman, half-huckster who has just had himself elected president.
I’m doing an experiment with my new book, the follow up to The Senility of Vladimir P. I’m putting it here, on my website, as I write it, and every few weeks I’m adding a chapter. You’re welcome to read it at no cost (other than to your sanity – although I think most of us have been pushed over the edge already). If you like it, tell your friends, or you can use the widgets to post on Facebook, Twitter, Teepee or whatever happens to be your social media poison.
As Larry might say: ‘This is gonna be so great!”
The Senility of Vladimir P
Former Russian president, Vladimir P, is going senile, marooned in a world of memories from his years in power. To get him out of the way, he has been exiled to his luxury dacha, where he is served by a coterie of bickering house staff. Only Sheremetev, the guileless nurse charged with Vladimir’s round-the-clock care, is unaware that everyone else is busily using every means at their disposal to skim money from their employer’s inexhaustible riches. But when the nurse suddenly needs to find cash for a bribe or see his nephew rot in jail, the dacha’s chef lets him in on the secret world of ‘commissions’ going on all around him. Yet surely Sheremetev wouldn’t think to steal from his ailing patient? And surely, in the upstanding modern Russia that Vladimir P created, no one would actually let him…
‘Honig is an adroit plotter … full of humour … an essential entry in the field.’ New York Times
Malcolm Goldblatt has one last chance. Life, or his own obstinacy, has dumped him at the door of Professor Andrea Small’s medical unit, where he will have the privilege of ministering to the world’s most unimportant disease. But in so many ways, this unit is like all the others that Goldblatt has worked on, from Dr Madic’s ferocious aversion to work, to Dr Burton’s knife-in-the-back ambition, right up to the monstrous vanities of the professor herself – and that’s before he even meets the patients. Soon the familiar cycle of hope and despair threatens to drag him into its eddy, and with his finger never far from the self-destruct button, the temptation to press it for what will surely be the final time begins to feel less like professional suicide and more like salvation.
Corruscatingly sharp and heartachingly poignant, Goldblatt’s Descent is an impassioned masterpiece of midnight-black humour.