Boy meets girl. Boy (really a man-boy) negotiates the messy convolutions of his own desire (or more often his New Yorker Dyspepsia) by engaging in that writer-ly occupation of supplanting his psyche into the imagined psyche of an other, namely famed comedian, humorist, white-haired model of amiability Steve Martin. Boy by way of Steve Martin charms girl. Boy eventually becomes disillusioned with role playing and loses girl. Along the way Boy has kinky escapades, eat lots of lengua tacos, gets to know LA from the sidewalk up, engages in tidy and tiny moments of cinephilia, eventually attains a state of grace, a second-sight, having broken into new forays of time-space via the black hole of his own navel. If Camus tried to write broad comedy maybe it would be nothing like this.


I am a sucker for books with cool covers. McSweeney’s books look to me like cupcakes, they make my mouth water with their antiquarian typesetting and indie-comic graphics.

I am a sucker for books whose synopses read either like an entry from someones dream diary, someone who falls asleep with the tv on or like a list of exhibitions from the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

I am a sucker for darkly comic picaresques told by narrators with the same warmly conspiratorial, erudite and conflicted tone as a Humbert Humbert, even if the narrator isn’t a middle-aged emigre but a barely legal, precocious, and fatherless American boy.

I am a sucker for debut novels written by nonagenarians who remind me of all the WWII vets that were in my novel-writing class, who made me hopeful that when I too am wrinkled and stooped, I will also be a pastiche of all the wonderful books of questionable merit that I may have wasted my youth on.

I am a sucker for books built on aphorisms like, “life is shit”, and “you can’t polish a turd” and “If the shit fits…” But maybe most tragic of all I am a sucker for books that seem so promising, like a cupcake or a bowl of really ripe cherries that only end up giving me the shits.