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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)
Amy Hungerford
The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays
James Wood
Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry - B.S. Johnson This novel’s humorous tone and the author’s suicide will put some readers in mind of John Kennedy Toole and his A Confederacy of Dunces. The protagonists of both novels share a general loathing of their circumstances and the people around them. CMOD-e is, however, much more fun and funnier. Johnson’s metafictional account of Christie Malry’s attempt to balance his life’s accounts is, at first, easy to identify with and creates in the reader a sympathetic reflection.

At one point the intrusive author/narrator says of the protagonist:

And he had contrived a method of throwing these switches by remote control, so to speak in an unusual way which I am not going to bother to invent on this occasion. But I will go so far as to tell you that it involved a shovel, which was naturally already there and available for use, a length of nylon twine, and a small hard ball of compressed rubber of the kind delighted in by many children of all ages; and that once this apparatus had worked, the only objects left were a shovel, which had every right to be there, and a child’s ball with about a yard of twine attacted.
I’ve provided this quote for two reasons:
1. it exemplifies the narrator’s insistent and humorous tendency to short-circuit expectations, and
2 it might just account for the shovel in The Egg Said Nothing (my own intertextual aside).

I’m not sure why I put off reading this for so long: it’s listed in the Bibliography of James Wood’s How Fiction Works (and now has a √ after it like so many other great titles he cites), it received five stars from MJ Nichols and Greg, (who’ve written much finer reviews), and now, finally, I’m reading it because it was listed as a Cult Books group read; go figure.

At one point the author/narrator interrupts the text with:

…this novel is not an unrelieved progression of successes, you know.
I’d suggest he’s wrong, the novel is, indeed, a ‘progression of successes’ culminating in a major success. While reading this brief novel, I highlighted any number of passages to share in a review, most being the funnier intrusions, but instead of providing them I offer the following suggestion: Read this book, it’s fast, it’s funny, and it’s worth it.