Michael Martone, whose trademark is the blurring of the lines between fact and fiction, has created an Indiana that almost is, a landscape marked by Lover's Lane-franchises and pharmaceutical drug theme parks. Passages from this book have been published in Indiana newspapers as feature articles on what to do this weekend or as suggestions for family vacations. Tourists have been directed to visit the Trans-Indiana Mayonnaise Pipeline and the Field of Lightbulbs. They have been told about Our Lady of the Big Hair and Feet and taught the history of the License Plate Insurrection of 1979. The book opens with a letter from the Lieutenant Governor of Indiana, inviting visitors to sample "refreshing paw paw canapes and free glasses of buttermilk cider drawn from our state's native bison herds" at state rest areas, and to considering working toward a Ph.D. within the state's picturesque borders. The book closes with a chilling Author's Note that epitomizes Martone's work: It is untrue but nearly believable; and it renders the mundane horrific and the tragic hilarious.
The Blue Guide to Indiana is an extension of Martone's previous work, in which he often composed fake essays in the voices of real celebrities. Like Jorge Luis Borges and Flann O'Brien, Martone uses parody to reveal the deeper truths about our culture.
MICHAEL MARTONE currently teaches in the English department at University of Alabama. No stranger to the Midwest, he was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, attended Butler and Indiana Universities and taught at Iowa State University. He is the author of eight books including The Flatness and Other Landscapes (University of Georgia Press, 2000), Pensees: The Thoughts of Dan Quayle (Broadripple, 1992), Seeing Eye (Zoland, 1994) and Alive and Dead in Indiana (Knopf, 1984). Martone has won the Bruno Arcudi Literature Prize, the AWP Book Award and the Pushcart Prize.