editor's choice




Fargo is one of those films, you either absolutely love with an almost cultish adoration, or just don’t get: it’s too screwball, too noir, too dark, too odd. We sit firmly in the former camp and, when we first saw it, in a small press screening in Soho, in 1996, it was mesmerising. Already Coen brothers’ fans via the wonderful Blood Simple and Raising Arizona, we watched, in awe, as the Coens yet again wove their magic. It’s still one of our favourite Coen films and rates among our top 30 movies of all time. So, on its 25th anniversary, we’re delighted, not just that it’s being released again on the big screen (where it really should be viewed), but that it’s being celebrated in such delights as Nige Tassell’s charming And It’s a Wonderful Day, published by Polaris.

Journalist Tassell shows Fargo the love, in a humorous, affectionate book that only a true fan could write. It’s part celebration, part deconstruction, part memoir, all executed by the skilled hands of a pro.

Early on in the book, Tassell, who lived in Minnesota, writes:

Until Fargo, American films tended to play out before a backdrop of New York City, Las Vegas or southern California. But bad deeds could be – and were being – committed across that big chunk of land in between. … It turned out there were schemes and evil dreams in the cutesy folks of Middle America. As one of the film’s taglines had it, ‘a lot can happen in the middle of nowhere’. Ever the champion of the underdog, I was showing perverse pride at Hollywood finally showing the aptitude of Minnesotan residents (albeit fictional ones) for doing Very Bad Things. Weird, no?”


Actually, not.

This is a really lovely book, and not just for fans of the film or the Coen brothers’ larger stable of work, but for anyone who loves movies and popular culture. In the manner of a true devotee, Tassell presents Fargo in a way that makes it irresistible – and even if you don’t know the film, this book will make you want to see it. And it is worth seeing, several times, the plot revealing more of its secrets, taking us on a new journey of discovery, every time.

So, our recommendation, read Nige Tassell’s book. It is highly enjoyable, informative and entertaining. And really, see Fargo. For the first time, or again. On the big screen. With people. And popcorn. In our brave new world. Sigh. What a lovely thought.


Nige Tassell | And It’s a Beautiful Day | Polaris

| hardback | £9.99 | 4 March 2021 |

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Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the publisher virtual book tour. Many thanks to lovely Anne Cater for arranging it and to the publisher for sending a review copy and the above jacket image. All views expressed are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other great reviewers on the tour.

See also: Anita Nair’s Bangalore detective Borei Gowda‘;’Michael Connelly’s epic hero, Mickey Haller‘;‘Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Damian Barr’s slice of South Africa’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).


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