Australian TV writer Knight, a founder of comedy troupe The Chaser, abandons hard satire for softer emotions in his affectionate debut about a beta male finding his way.
Some youths rush headlong into adulthood, but Paul Johnson, 25, is determined to drag his feet. After graduating from law school (to the delight of his hipster parents), Paul chooses another path in life more from apathy than resolution. He makes his living as a DJ in and around Sydney, flogging wedding parties with the most cringe-inducing pop standards. “My skills wouldn’t have helped me in a pumping superclub on the fair island of Ibiza, but…give me two CD players and a box of greatest hits compilations, and I could pump up the jam, pump it up, while your feet are stomping,” says Paul. He genuinely loves music and has a talent for making it. But he’s starting to experience the embarrassment of an elongated adolescence, largely due to mockery from his good mate Nige and his best friend, the elusive and lovely Zoë. The sexual politics are lad-lit as usual: Paul beds a young companion mostly to aggravate her obnoxious older brother while he pines away for Felicity, a fellow attorney. “I was stuck, as New Order would have put it, in a bizarre love triangle—and one set to a tacky soundtrack,” Paul admits. But it’s the soundtrack and sincerity that sets the book apart from more acerbic fare like Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. We love what we love, no matter how cheesy the objects of our affections. The story might be a little syrupy here and there, but it mostly hums along as a comic novel.
A light-hearted celebration of things uncool.