Meet A.K. Swift, a working-class war veteran and family man who is haunted by visions of nuclear apocalypse. When matters of conscience determine that he can no longer support the State-sponsored institutions that create the machines that threaten the living, A.K.decides to stop paying. Trouble is, he’s not a very good tax resister. He forgets to attend the meetings and doesn’t bother to fill out the proper forms. Now he worries there may be consequences.
From the dustbin of Cold War protest literature, Bradley Smith’s The Man Who Saw His Own Liver emerges as a heartfelt meditation on the timeless problem of the individual against authority. Rooted in libertarian theory and American transcendentalism, it is the story of an accidental rebel trembling in comic defiance under the yoke of God and State, and before the faceless Leviathan of modern Bureaucracy.
Smith’s writing is animated by a crisp and laconic prose-poetic hum. His is a uniquely personal canvass in which storytelling and gently wrought polemics interweave, seamlessly, with turns of magical realism coming to rest in that frail, strangely familiar liminal space, where ineffable exaltation and terror transcend the political.
Originally conceived and performed for the stage in 1983, The Man Who Saw His Own Liver is presented by Nine-Banded books in novelized form. It is appended with Smith’s short story, “Joseph Conrad and the Monster from the Deep.”