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Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
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The Book of Jokes: A Novel by Momus (British Literature Series) - Momus
It’s a snowy night in late June, and milk is spilling from the broken world’s murdered head.

Suppose Woody Allen retold Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom. No, that’s not quite right, close, but not quite.

My father and grandfather got on very well. They liked to sit outside a country inn, tugging at the ivy cascading over the walls and drinking iced patis. And they loved to entertain us children with anecdotes so corrosive to good manners or morals that they made customers sitting at nearby tables blush and rise to leave.
In a sequence of horrific and/or horribly crude (though constantly funny) jokes, a father and son (Sebastian and Peter Skeleton, respectively, not respectfully) relate scenes from their lives. Scenes which repeat in altered variation. Repeated like bad jokes that one hears over and over during the course of one’s life.

…I have realized that my family history is governed, not by dharma, but by jokes.

Call it “joke dharma” if you like. Bad jokes, dirty jokes are, to my world, what the force of gravity is to yours. They shape every event in my life, and in the life of my family. I am not sure why it is so, but it is, I cannot doubt. As a result, I live in a grim mirror world. I am a character trapped in a book of jokes—jokes, furthermore, which are in very poor taste.

I have discovered that there is a way to escape this grim fate—the misfortune of joke dharma. The solution, I believe, is that I should assume, myself, the responsibility of telling the very jokes which constrain and define me, and to make, each time, a small alteration in their telling, an alteration which restores a few shreds of dignity, human decency, beauty and sensuality to the tale

It might begin with embroidery; I add a few details which are not normally included in the rush to the punchline. I must ensure that the story is so well-told that my audience loses interest in the farcical pay-off, the money-shot. I tell the tale several times, from different angles and with different emphases, forcing my listeners to pay attention to small formal questions, adverbs rather than verbs, hows rather than whats.

Speaking of ‘adverbs,’ this reads as if written by the Daniel Handler of [b:Adverbs|79129|Adverbs|Daniel Handler|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327729597s/79129.jpg|1230197] fame while attached to an LSD/steroidal drip.

4.something stars, rounded up for its audacity, its Dalkeyness, its outrageously outrageous humor. Not for the squeamish, easily offended, or prudes.


And for the truly inquisitive: Momus on the internets.

Momus or Momos (μῶμος) was in Greek mythology the personification of satire, mockery, censure; a god of writers and poets; a spirit of evil-spirited blame and unfair criticism. His name is related to μομφή, meaning 'blame' or 'censure'. He is depicted in classical art as lifting a mask from his face—wikipedia