MY COUSIN, MY GASTROENTEROLOGIST by Mark Leyner

MY COUSIN, MY GASTROENTEROLOGIST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Seventeen very clever--though often more annoying than entertaining--postmodernist performances (prose poems, literary stews, and parodies), alluding to everything from Tommy John to Jessica Tandy, and full of cheap thrills as well as some highbrow belly laughs. With titles like ""saliva of the fittest,"" ""psychotechnologies of the somber workaholics,"" and ""lines composed after inhaling paint thinner,"" the reader should expect a cross between William Gibson's Mona Lisa Overdrive and ""Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,"" and that's what Leyner delivers: the pop culture is sprayed across every page with the glee of a graffiti artist. Leyner can be dazzling in his footwork, wit, or quick jab (""I was driving to Las Vegas to tell my sister that I'd had Mother's respirator unplugged""), but just as easily, he can overwrite luridly (""You are the beautiful day, I exclaim, your breath is a zephyr of eucalyptus that does a pas de bourrÉe across the Sea of Galilee"") or pedantically (""Soon psychopathology replaced ethnicity as the critical demographic determinant""). Such a stew can undercut criticism, of course, by claiming intention, but bad writing is bad writing, and good writing is good: here, there is a fair amount of both, from the kind of mixed metaphors grad schools used to blueline to the quick linguistic spins that can be enjoyed in context or without. In ""colonoscope nite,"" a long biographical note, we learn that Leyner sometimes pays his way as an advertising copywriter. It figures: he obviously knows a lot, and he just as obviously wears it all on his sleeve, at least in this collection.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1990
Publisher: Harmony/Crown