TOOTH IMPRINTS ON A CORN DOG by Mark Leyner

TOOTH IMPRINTS ON A CORN DOG

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 After the loopy pyrotechnics of My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist (1991) and the gleeful dissection of celebrity in Et Tu, Babe (1992), what's left for postmodern Savoyard Leyner to do but shelve stories and novels and turn to the theater? That's what he does, sort of, in this new collection of pieces, many of which previously appeared in such magazines as the New Yorker and Esquire Gentleman. Inserting Mark, his manic fictional doppelgÑnger, into the surreal dramaturgy, Leyner concocts a range of scenarios to explore shopping, anti-Semitism, parenting, fame, poetry, and dates with English royalty. In ``Young Bergdorf Goodman Brown,'' Leyner updates Hawthorne's ``Young Goodman Brown'' by sending Mark through the Manhattan department store's vast network of sub-basements in search of an Armani pocketbook for his daughter's Haute Barbie; before it's over, he's unearthed a 40-year-old military collusion between Israel and a race of extraterrestrials (``the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as rewritten by Whitley Strieber''). For stories not set up like plays, Leyner offers advice to sartorially challenged bodybuilders (``Hulk Couture''), discusses secret Senate tattooing rituals (``The [Illustrated] Body Politic''), suggests more rigorous standards for the selection of Miss America (``Dream Girls, USA''), recommends ways for tenderfoot fathers to retain their masculinity while using their newborns as martial-arts weapons (``Dangerous Dads''), and proposes a means of sneaking product placements into the great books (``Eat at Cosmo's''). But it's the account of writing a 1000-line poem for a German periodical while holed up in Hollywood's Chateau Marmont (``The Making of Tooth Imprints on a Corn Dog'') that really stops the show; here Mark composes ``the gorgeous cadenzas I whistle as I clean the Augean stables of contemporary literature.'' Others imitate Leyner's zany style, but none wield it as skillfully. Or with such maturity. (Author tour)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-517-59384-X
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Harmony
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1994




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