Review: Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot

The novel Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer offers a complex look into the lives of three eccentrics entwined with cabals, communicating plants, and drug addiction.

I first encountered Shafer’s book when looking through a list somewhere for the best novels in the past few years. I don’t think this was ever number one on any of those lists, perhaps due to its slow to start narrative. The title is what lingered in my mind . After all, whiskey, tangos, and foxtrots are all fun things to think about. I also googled what these three little words referred to: WTF. Clever, clever.

I decided to buckle down and listen to it on Audible after I heard that a film by the same name starring Tina Fey was going to be release in the very near future. Little did I know that I was wrong about its adaptation. The film Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is actually based on a memoir. But this confusion on my part led me to read one of the more enjoyable novels in my long Los Angeles commutes. Shafer’s book as far as the news tells me is not going to be made into a film, and as I was listening, if it would be made into a film, it would be one of those films with a ton of bad CGI and awkward transition between CGI, green screen, and ping pong balls attached to some B-List actor.

While its potential may be low for film adaptation, if Shafer decided to release a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 2, I would look for a copy and listen to it in a heartbeat. The novel proved to be a funny, pleasantly awkward, sprinkled with little bits of crazy action-packed adventure. It begins with a good Samaritan in Myanmar, delves into the internal workings of a cracked out kindergarten teacher, and exposes the strange addictions of a  self-help guru. This rag tag team of individuals join up with an underground network of people attempting to expose a information gather cabal. I was somewhat dissatisfied with the ending, but in the most wonderful way. It left me wanting closure, a second WTF. When I heard, “Audible hopes you’ve enjoyed this production,” I was in my shiny blue Prius screaming “WHAT!?.”

I would recommend this book to anyone who like a bit of thriller mashed with conspiracy theory. For me, the greatest contribution of this book is a term I thought of while listening to it on the 10 East away from downtown LA: digital Marxist.


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