Brossard (Who Walk In Darkness, Wake Up, We're Almost There, etc.) here is delivered of a vast, rambling, incoherent notebook of a novel—one that wraps its mess in the tissue of the metafictional lollapalooza (a genre that hasn't aged terribly well), with some welcome but far too few moments of rude fresh humor and dark realism. There's a little bit of everything here. Literary sendup—of Moby Dick, Dostoyevsky, Homer, the Goldilocks tale—nicely serves Brossard's centripetal, choleric energies. But a page later there'll be what reads like the sketch for a realistic short story, bobbing around like an orphan dumpling. A rickety superstructure—a bunch of soured intellectuals in Paris making each other up, Ö la Julio Cort†zar's Hopscotch—doesn't do much more than allow for pages of numbing political hyperventilation: ``And every week every single piss-faced American schoolchild should be required, as should their teachers, to stand up and recite a list of the American crimes against the human race. Starting with those loathsome, scabby, long-nosed, self-loving Pilgrim assholes who murdered the Iroquois as happily as if they were knocking off turkeys.'' Brossard gets a lot off his chest here—which unfortunately then lands with a stone-like thud on yours.
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