PUBLISHERS OF LITERARY FICTION SINCE 1983
‘Market Farm is a funny and clever depiction of economic life which raises the key social and moral questions as to whether the market should be the master, or the servant, of the people.’
Like Animal Farm, Market Farm is run by the pigs, although elections allow the other animals to decide whether the pink or blue porcine faction should be in charge. This benevolent pseudo-democracy is accepted by the populace, as “prosperity for all” is both promised and delivered. Enter the foxes who, after gaining the other animals’ trust, persuade the pigs that the farm is being run inefficiently, and introduce market forces, and an increasing number of exciting financial products, into play. While Animal Farm is a savage exposé of Soviet communism, Market Farm is more an explanation of the financial crash. Piggy politicians are in thrall to foxy bankers, while gullible farm animals follow their lead, believing all can be rich. It is a timely reminder of how we are all paying the price of austerity for gambling by the investment bankers who brought this country to its knees, with the collusion of pink and blue (and yellow) politicians, while most of the bankers and the politicians still live their well-heeled lives.Bradbury has worked in government, banking and public relations, and his debut novel deals with a subject he has seen from many sides. Lightly written, as an amusing (if sad) read rather than a rant, he pulls the reader along. He shows us the clever banker foxes fooling the self important politician pigs to introduce an ever more complex system of paper money and speculation, with frightened rabbits printing notes to order and blind moles verifying them. In thrall to market forces, the animals engage in a spree of buying the exotic and unnecessary. And, of course, the foxes persuade the pigs to privatise everything, using the line that the “ordinary animals” will be able to own their homes and land but, of course, the rich pigs and foxes can buy most of it. All this is seen through the eyes of Merlin, the Eeyore-like donkey, who distrusts the hype yet is quite the entrepreneur, and his friends Errol, the optimistic bull, and Lily, the ditsy and so easily confused chicken.
Market Farm should be a set text for all students of politics and economics.
“In a writing scene seemingly replete with only the self-absorbed personalist offerings of literary elites, Bradbury represents a welcome weather change towards re-engagement with the civic and social anxieties that are really on everyone's minds…This is a wise and funny book.”
"Market Farm would have made both Orwell and Swift proud. The four chapters from 'Playing Dominos' to 'The Harvest Pie' are as much brilliant displays of concision and imagery as they are devastating in their satire and caustic humour. The chilling joy of this book is the sharp knife of clarity the author wields. He spares none of us. He has mirrored the folly of our age, as Swift did the folly of his, and it's uncomfortable."
Many authors put small ideas into large books, Nicholas Bradbury did just the opposite: he put a great idea into a small book. His story is witty, masterful, deeply penetrating and wise. Market Farm is as timely a critique of present financial folly as was Orwell's narrative about the dead-end of totalitarian economics in its own day. Bradbury has presented us an excellent account of the current financial crisis in a concise and literary form.
Market Farm revisits and updates Animal Farm and without straying far from the original style and schema develops the story with sufficiently clever and well-crafted material to make this a highly readable, topical and important novel. The book could serve a secondary function as a primer to the financial world for the less enlightened.
Like Orwell's masterpiece from which it borrows so productively, Market Farm presents a serious intellectual argument in a form that is funny, wise and beautifully written.
“A rather remarkable reworking of the classic Orwell work, Animal Farm, with much food for thought for anyone questioning the market system as it operates today, all brought together in a very funny satire.”
Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, University of Oxford, presenter BBC Nightwaves