A contract lawyer with a traumatic brain injury tries to decide whether to piece together the shattered fragments of his old life or simply start a new one from scratch. It’s a lot funnier than it sounds.
New Zealand–based public-relations director Glancy pulls off a terrific bit of comic timing in this debut novel about a lawyer who teaches all the scoundrels in his life to read the fine print. Franklyn Shaw is a lawyer who has recently suffered a horrific car accident that has led to traumatic synesthesia and selective amnesia. “The accident had smashed my separately labelled jars—Sad, Happy, Mad—into a sloshing chaos of wild fluids,” he tells us. “I wanted to laugh, cry and scream all at once, all the time.” To maintain control over his mixed-up life, Shaw meticulously footnotes his observations throughout the book, and they’re hilarious, relating which incidents were merely fantasies and not real or making admissions about bitter criticisms he claims not to mean. We meet Franklyn’s wife, Alice, a once soft-bodied writer who has become a supersevere careerist. Franklyn saves much of his scorn for his older brother, Oscar, who holds the reins at the family law firm and makes a sport out of scorning Franklyn. His little brother, Malc, retains Franklyn’s affections, but we only know him from email missives relating his backpacking adventures overseas. Franklyn’s only real supporter is Doug, a Zen-minded statistician who may be the only person willing to tell him the real truth about how happy Old Frank really was in the first place. As Franklyn starts remembering things and connecting the dots about his lonely life, he begins assembling an act of rebellion that will find readers rooting for this unusual protagonist to make a clean getaway.
An original office comedy that dots all the I’s and crosses all the T’s: Think a dash of Office Space, a pinch of Palahniuk and a glance at Regarding Henry.