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MochaMike

MochaMike

Currently reading

Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
Mating
Norman Rush
The Unknown University
Roberto Bolaño, Laura Healy
Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion since 1960 (20/21)
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The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays
James Wood
The Tetherballs of Bougainville - Mark Leyner

Before posting this would-be review, I went back to reread B0nnie's much better and more postive review; my advice is read that one. If for some reason you have nothing better to do, mine follows:

Years, and years, and years, and years ago, friends of mine and I would drive from central Illinois where I went to college (Blackburn, if you’re interested) to ST. LOUIS (emphasis added, as it was a big city adventure, a trip, if you will [even if you won’t, as some serious tripping was going on—serious]) to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with its props, shouting, throwing things, etc. We made the drive numerous times, week after week, taking the country roads rather than the highway so that we could best indulge our profoundly illegal proclivities. Following a summer and fall of relatively nice weather, as happens most places, it started getting colder as we manned the admission lines, waiting to get in to the midnight shows. Once one of us had the brainstorm that by going to the actual evening feature we would be able to remain inside the theatre rather than braving the cold waiting for the later admission. Would have been a great idea had the feature not been a ten episode Three Stooges extravaganza which has saturated my interest to this day. Overkill. Big time.

So does this matter? Of course not, but it does speak to the same sort of overkill I felt while reading The Tetherballs of Bougainville—a relentless absurdity that seemed as though would never end. There’s good reason why comedians don’t do Springsteen-like, four-hour concerts—too much of a good thing is not good, it’s overwhelming.

I’ll let Leyner sum it up for himself:

Through its furious incomprehensibility, The Tetherballs of Bougainville radiates a white light. It attains a white opacity toward which sloughed molecules of our own autobiographies float.
Before going on to say:
Leyner’s attention-deficit style of editing gives scant opportunity to ponder any of this.
And that’s rather how I felt after reading this: too much brain matter sloughed off on a text that was clever, funny, interesting in form, but seemed endless to the point of tedium. Fast readers might very well love this one. I hope they do. Fans of writing over plot might love this one—I thought I was one of those readers. I come away stuck/struck only by the author’s cleverness, and it isn’t enough.

Three stars, inching slightly toward four—for the homework the author did, for making me laugh, for being clever, demerits for not making me give a damn.