I recently finished reading Jim Shepard‘s collection Like You’d Understand, Anyway. There’s an excellent story in the collection, narrated by the head executioner of the French Revolution – it’s a pretty devastating look at the line between the things you do & things you do because you have to. And it just makes me wonder – does any revolution every go well? Or more specifically, do the leaders of a revolution ever come out ideologically unscathed?

I guess you could argue that the ¬†American Revolution came out alright, but it’s not like the nation didn’t backslide quickly towards slavery/the Civil War/our current political miasma of inefficiency and discontent. (To be clear: I am referring to the entire political system, not any piece of it in particular.)

Well. Anyway. The Shepard book is really enjoyable – he has a way of reaching out towards despair and tickling it until it laughs a little.