You’ll want to clear your sinuses by renting a video of Glengarry Glen Ross or American Buffalo after wrestling with this unruly anti-novel by the noted playwright and remarkably unremarkable writer of fiction. It’s a futurist-modernist text of sorts, whose premise is the loss of virtually all literary and popular culture (when the Internet crashed, in 2021), and “scholarly” attempts to reconstruct it from surviving fragments (faithfully, numbingly reproduced here). If Jacques Barzun had been re-edited by Paulie Shore, you might have something like this book’s aggressive profusion of horrendous puns (“Get Dressed, You Married Gentlemen”), analyses of dumb (many ethnic) jokes, imitation poetry, memoirs of would-be celebrities (such as president Woodrow Wilson’s spacey “ex-wife’), and (far too few) blank pages. Occasional good gags (e.g., a fragment of Dink Stover at Yale is “believed to be from Aristotle”) are infrequent needles in this smothering haystack of a novel. One notes approvingly a footnote reference to a fictitious tome deemed “either a work of overwhelming erudition or a vast pile of shit.”
Well, folks, we’re here to tell you—Wilson isn’t even half-vast.