Home » Adrian Elton, Arts and Culture, Author

Murble In Mississippi

February 18, 2014 – 3:42 pmOne Comment

By Adrian Elton:

safran2The transition from media wunderkind, to serious author, is not necessarily a smooth one; unless of course you’re John Safran, who has made this metamorphosis look as effortless as streaking starkers through a Jerusalem shuk, dressed only in a St.Kilda football club beanie.

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Before I get stuck into reviewing,“Murder In Mississipi”, the first important point to be made is that this tome has been authored by John Safran – not Jonathan Safran Foer. While this may seem like an utterly redundant observation, it seems less so if you consider that I was recently accosted by a hippie in her 50s who spied me reading “MIM” at a cafe flanking the Eumundi Markets in Queensland. Once spotted, she rushed over to enthuse about how much she loved ‘his’ books. Through equal parts cunning and guile, I deduced that she’d gotten the two authors muddled as after all, this book is John’s “de-butt” (nod to Jessica Mauboy). But what a “de-butt” it has been! From loveable rogue, documentary film-maker and radio personality; to author of iTunes 2013 non-fiction book of the year. Not too shabby an effort from everyone’s second-favourite bespeckled yid.

While the book doesn’t read like the literary greats; unlike a lot of ‘great’ literature – it is un-put-downable and recalls in its style the rhythms of the documentaries which were John’s first claim to fame. Indeed the book had its genesis when John was in Mississippi filming for his ABC series, ‘Race Relations’, and met (and then pranked) one of the deep south’s most notorious white supremacists.

When a few years later, this same white supremacist found himself slightly less alive than the day before – having been murdered,über dramatically, by a young black man – John’s antennae went into a twitching frenzy as he grappled to piece together a jumble of details that just didn’t add up. What transpires is a testament to John’s super-sleuthing abilities as he drills deep into the underbelly of a part of America that is still profoundly divided between black, white; the haves and the have-nots.

Apart from genius inventions of language – specifically the creation of the word, “murble”, to describe the half burble, half mumble of the monosyllabic murderer – the most impressive thing about this book, beyond the incredible tale it tells, is just the sheer size of John’s gonads. Apparently from latest reports they can be seen quite clearly with the naked eye from the moon’s lunar surface. I mean, seriously; how many pasty white, East St.Kilda Jews, have breached the eruv and chosen careers that have placed them in the company of the KKK or else have hoodwinked Holocaust revisionist, David Oy-ving into sitting quite happily in an improvised gas chamber?

But as to the question of whether, “Murder in Mississipi”, is a noteable example of true crime fiction or not – this is unfortunately something that I’m wholly unqualified to adjudicate as I wouldn’t know my Truman Capote from my Fakeman Capote (see what I did there?) and the only true crime fiction that I’ve read otherwise was Dan Brown’s, “DaVinci Code”. #chortle

Indeed, regardless of how this stacks up for the ‘true-crime-fiction’ trainspotters out there, it remains a fascinating read for the rest of us.

And even though it doesn’t deliver the crescendo of events or sense of resolution that might have made for the most satisfying wrap-up from a story telling perspective, I guess sometimes real life just doesn’t turn out that way.

Irrespective; if in the wake of this controversial book John receives threats of crucifixion – he can just casually shrug the menace with a coy, “been there, done that”, as he waves his confederate flag and ‘murbles’ his way into the sunset.

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