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A moronic chick magnet gets a scholarship to a prestigious Midwestern writing program on the basis of poetry written by his dweeb sidekick.

Meet Troy Augustus Loudermilk: "Six foot three and built like a water polo champion. His face is hard to look away from. His square jaw resolves itself into a gentle cleft above which shapely lips give levity to otherwise chiseled features." What is almost more beautiful than Loudermilk's physical being is his gleefully transcribed speech, sparkling with "dick-munches," "nerf herders," "cum-dumpsters," "jizz rags," "fart crumbs," "brohams," and "get spastic with it, you Amish pirate you." His underdeveloped, terrified henchman, Harry Rego, resembles "a hobbit or shaved teddy bear" and is "not sure what you're supposed to do if you end up in a relationship with someone who may at once be a sociopath and/or pathological liar, plus situational narcissist, and/or suffering from a personality disorder, and then you also feel like they are the only person in the world who's ever understood you." Ives' second novel (Impossible Views of the World, 2017) is half gonzo grad school satire featuring these two princes among men, half theoretical inquiry into the nature of writing and reality. Holding down the more highbrow side of things is a character named Clare Elwil, who contributes a dead father, lots of introspection ("bounding through the endless black and rainbow that is the mountain-heap of images constituting the trash-heap of her being"), and four short stories, which appear as a kind of performance art within the novel. Also included are several of the works Harry writes as T.A. Loudermilk—poems that set the entire student body and faculty back on their heels in awe. We're 99 percent sure the admiration these inspire is supposed to be a joke, but since there were a number of other things that went over our heads, we could be wrong.

Wonder Boys meets Cyrano de Bergerac meets Jacques Lacan meets Animal House. Something for everyone.

Pub Date: May 7th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-59376-390-9
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Soft Skull Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2019


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