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Snowball’s Chance

A Novel

Foreword by Alexander Cockburn

Part of The Neversink Library

“We all serve ourselves. And we all serve the village. It has finally come to pass that the prosperity of one is the prosperity of the other! We all serve—by serving ourselves!”

Written in the three weeks after the September 11th attacks, Snowball’s Chance is an outrageous and unauthorized companion to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, in which exiled pig Snowball returns to the farm, takes charge, and implements a new world order of untrammeled capitalism. Orwell’s “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” has morphed into the new rallying cry: “All animals are born equal—what they become is their own affair.”

At first Snowball’s regime prospers: heated stalls, running water, and a window for each animal. The farm moves away from its agricultural economy as Snowball and his team of educated Goats recreate Animal Farm as Animal Fair, replete with citizen performers and criminal sideshows.

A brilliant political satire and literary parody, Snowball’s Chance caused an uproar on publication in 2002, drawing the ire of Christopher Hitchens among others, spurring a hostile response from the literary executor of the Orwell estate, and sparking a debate about parody and canonical writing. Now, on the tenth anniversary of the the book’s publication, with America in wars on many fronts, readers can judge anew the vision of Reed’s satirical masterpiece.


JOHN REED was born in New York City in 1969. Among his many books are the novels A Still Small Voice and The Whole, a play, All the World’s a Grave, and the non-fiction Tales of Woe. He currently teaches at The New School, and is a senior editor at The Brooklyn Rail.

“Reed is an extraordinary talent.” —Fran Gordon

“John Reed excels in the realm of the strange.” San Francisco Examiner

“Orwell’s sacred pigs get a proper roast.” Portland Tribune

“The estate of George Orwell is not happy about it.” The New York Times