1. "At once hugely ambitious and never above an off-colour crack."
3. "The decline and fall of the American Empire, by means of highbrow bedroom farce."
4. "Harkens back to big-novel romps of the author’s youth, in particular John Barth’s Sot-Weed Factor (1960), which put Colonial America through dizzying bounces."
5. "The narrative reach alone is honourable."
6. "Much of it comes across with smarts and verve ... it’s no surprise to learn that our narrator’s a poet."
And that's just the first two paragraphs. Thoughtful thoughtful thoughtful smart stuff today for our friend The Traymore Rooms, including not just this review but a feature on Largehearted Boy's Book Notes page. What a Fiction Friday! And since I can't resist an ending as good as John Domini's, my plan is to close the week with that, and then tell (beg? plead? implore?) you to go check out the whole darn October issue of the Brooklyn Rail. Here's to setting the bar high, folks. See you on Monday.
Sibum effectively eschews the “cheap genre” approach to worldwide collapse, “some tale of the inner sanctum,” all about the powerful and their trophies. “Pay me millions to fake it,” claims Calhoun, “and I could not do it,” and so he confines his drama to the no-accounts. As for the sheer weight of it all, isn’t that part of the Homeric task? Right down to the reiterations (Moonface is “long-bellied,” Montreal a “faded Jezebel”)? Or think of the title, its French-English doubling, trés-more. Exactly.
—John Domini, The Brooklyn Rail