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I have a hard time grasping subtlety.  Not the concept - the quantity.

Let me give you an example.  My book, Bitter People Without Souls, is intended to be a satire on the American healthcare system.  (If I was more confident, I'd just say that it "is" a satire and not that it's
"intended to be," but I feel like satire's one of those things other people get to bestow upon you after you succeed at it.)  I made a story that takes the inherent contradictions between the charitable act of providing medical support to people and charging them so much money for it that they can't afford a reasonable quality of life and turns it into a literal conflict between one's actions and one's soul.

Now, that part is probably fine. It gave me good background to tell what is, at heart, a suspense story about a crime plot gone wrong without getting too bogged down in the politics.  But where do you draw the line and say there's too much or too little detail?

Did I go too far by making the protagonist a representative in the insurance industry?  Is that too much on the nose?  What about the scene later where she talks about soul research with another character who theorizes the mechanics of souls and how that relates to our capacity to empathize with one another?  Does that become overly sentimental?  Should I leave those mechanics up to the reader to guess, or is the satire incomplete without the explanation?

I know enough about satire to realize that a point made subtly is a point well-received.  Unfortunately, I think it may also be a point poorly understood.  Maybe it's just because Americans don't really do satire or maybe it's because our standards are so grotesquely obvious, but this is the impression I get.

So, what does that mean for me?  If I think I have a clever idea or metaphor, should I harp on it and over-explain it just in case there's somebody out there who doesn't get it?  Or should I trust that my readers are totally on board and they'll follow me the whole way to the end?

I would just hate it if somebody read my book and thought it was painfully obvious.  (The obvious part is okay.  It's the pain that hurts.)

Right now this is a problem for me with my current book, a post-apocalyptic comedy about a government worker who's trying to help rebuild society.  There's all kinds of topics being touched upon: capitalism, altruism, self-interests versus social good, and so on.

One of the most important, however, is immigration. The idea here is that the world has been reduced to cinders, so there aren't really strict borders any more - so the very concept of an "immigrant" is meaningless.  How do you emigrate when the world is free for the taking?

Now, I'd like to think I'm exploring this with grace and good humor, but here's a question: is it a problem that the protagonist is the son of immigrants?  Is that too obvious, or is it thematically appropriate?

I'm genuinely asking.  Anybody who's read Bitter People, please post and let me know.  I'm sure I'll crack this nut eventually, but I think I'm going to need more feedback.

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