Lish's most brilliant to date (Epigraph, 1996, etc.), a Lish's Complaint that travels in a single breath from childhood to an aging novelist's exhausted plaint at a fickle readership. In early childhood, ""Gordon"" (""I am the only Lish who isn't dead""), went with his family for a vacation at ""Laurel in the Pines"" in Lakewood. From that visit, ""I Gordon"" remembers flowers, walkways, communal dining, strudel he hated, and, every night after dinner, running with his cousins to the ""arcade"" where each, for a penny, would grapple for a trinket from the sandy bottom of the ""Treasure Chest."" Starting from this simple premise, Lish spins the whole, hilarious life of a now-disgruntled writer who, having spent his life grappling for ""trinkets,"" has achieved almost every problem--symbolic, real, or both--that he could wish to be without: bad enough being ""the last Lish,"" but how about having always been the shortest (""I am the youngest. I am the smallest""), always the most nervous and sensitive (""Going to lengths, it was always my nature""), and being faced now not only with time running out but with an injured foot that's elevated on a stool (""I am Gordon sitting here . . . beset by a foot up""), making nothing (especially writing) any easier. ""Believe me,"" says Gordon in another little exploding cigar of a paradox, ""if I made the rules, it would be a different story from start to finish."" In all--including its extraordinary collection of blank pages--a book about writing that's worthy of Laurence Sterne or Samuel Beckett and as uproarious as either. ""I have let my life go up in what they refer to as smoke,"" says 1 Gordon. Yet not so, as I Gordon shows by writing yet more gems like this: ""Words fail me. May I say something? Words fail me.