KAYO: The Authentic and Annotated Autobiographical Novel from Outer Space by James McConkey

KAYO: The Authentic and Annotated Autobiographical Novel from Outer Space

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A tedious and very funny settling of scores by veteran novelist and professor McConkey (To a Distant Island, etc.)--in which Nabokov and deconstructionism and, for some inexplicable reason, the Star Wars defense idea come in for the burnt of it. Ostensibly a sort of Ur-novel that appears one day on a Corinth University (read Cornell) professor's home computer, the manuscript we read is by an alien named Kayo Aznap. To extraterrestrials the text is akin to Don Quixote, a picaresque of perhaps obvious conventions but home-truths aplenty. . .which deconstructionist boors could never hope to fathom, since ""the obsessive concerns of these enchanters with cultural entrapment is a result of their denial of the soul, that faculty within us attuned to a freedom and cosmic union that logic can never apprehend."" Silly and well-deserving of the knock as it may be, deconstruction takes on strawman proportions in McConkey's philippic (which furthermore leaks: sour grumbles about college towns and popular professor-writers and English Department fatuities). So laboring and leaden is the satire, in fact, that you start rooting for deconstruction and the anti-humane turns of academic fashion, much as you would for the bad guys in a stupid movie. Even the heavy-panting fantasy element can't make this would-be comedy read less like Groucho than like your basic grouch.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1987
Publisher: Dutton