A failed novelist on the verge of divorce is drawn into a murky murder mystery at the behest of an unconventional mastermind.
I’m a Lebowski, you’re a Lebowski, and fans of the famous Coen Brothers film may find many of their favorite aspects mirrored in this dark comedy, the sophomore novel from Gordon (The Serialist, 2010). The sad sack at the heart of this follow-up is Sam Kornberg, an unemployed bookstore clerk and creatively bankrupt novelist who is half out of his mind. His Mexican wife, Lala, is fed up with his tube-watching, couch-surfing ways and has flown the coop. Besides pining for Lala, the only thing that breaks up Sam’s usual routine are movie-watching marathons with his bro Milo, including the classic The Big Lebowski, which serves as the spiritual touchstone for Gordon’s novel. “It is a comedy of course, a light film compared to the Coen bros darkies, like Fargo or their great masterpiece, Miller’s Crossing, but it is a sad movie too, sad in the way only comedy is sad, and brimming with the tender love we save for life’s losers,” Sam opines. In a rare deviation from his lethargy, Sam answers an advertisement titled simply, “Private Detective Requires Assistance.” A phone call leads him to the inner sanctum of one Solar Lonsky, a Sherlock Holmes–like figure who displays equally bewildering behaviors. Without revealing too many details, Lonsky commands Sam to follow the titular Ramona Doon. After an ill-advised liaison with the girl, she throws herself off a cliff. Then we’re off to the races as Lonsky and Sam pledge to solve the mystery of the girl. Gordon throws in everything but the kitchen sink, including a reclusive filmmaker of horrible art films, Mexican gangs and resurrected victims, but he somehow manages to set it all right in the end.
An unpredictable farce.