From his cult classic, I Smell Esther Williams, to his wildly popular and insightful column "Wild Kingdom" appearing in Esquire magazine every month, Mark Leyner has been giving us up close and personal encounters of the most hilarious kind for over a decade.
Now, in his new novel The Tetherballs of Bougainville, Leyner shares with us, long last, the quintessential coming of age story that every writer, at some point, is compelled to tell. In the novel we meet young Mark Leyner, 13-years-old to be exact, as he waits in a New Jersey prison to witness his father's execution. Adolescence is never easy, and it just so happens that this junior high schooler is on deadline to turn in a screenplay for which he has already been awarded the Vincent and Lenore DiGiacomo/Oshimitsu Polymers America Award. And, as it was for all of us during out teenage years, nothing seems to go as planned.
Written as autobiography, screenplay and movie review, The Tetherballs of Bougainville twists three familiar narrative forms into an outlandishly compelling story. Leyner's use of the media-driven formats brilliantly reflects our secret, shameful and hilarious desire to experience our private lives as mass entertainment. The Tetherballs of Bougainville skewers and celebrates American pop culture in the late twentieth century. Leyner's version of our lives is so deeply funny because it is so painfully true.
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Mark Leyner's hyperactive, relentlessly vivid The Tetherballs of Bougainville stars a fictionalized 13-year-old version of himself. Young Leyner--who sounds just like the author, the conceit is insincere--must watch the state of New Jersey execute his PCP-addled father; lose his virginity in a drunken, drugged revel with the comely warden; and write a screenplay about these things, all within the space of a day. Don't be alarmed, just turn off your left brain and keep reading. The Tetherballs of Bougainville is a soup of observation, weird juxtaposition, parody, and ribaldry that will leave some people stymied, but others positively delighted. The satire--and sense--is where you find it.
Here's Mark, with an aside: "As I browse through this astonishing array of contraband, I can't help but marvel at the ingenuity of the inmates. In the Body Cavity/Rectal section, for instance--I can imagine someone smuggling in a wrapped shank ... But four 5-piece place settings of Bastille stainless-steel flatware? I can see how, during a visit, a girlfriend could convey, through a kiss, a condom partially filled with heroin. But a 959-piece Alsatian Village Puzzle? How? Piece by piece, one kiss per visit per week? Imagine the incarcerated hobbyist's Zen-like equanimity."
Rich stuff, this. But as disorienting as the book may be, it possesses a brutal amount of horsepower--the amount of laughs it will induce excuse myriad indulgences. Half novel, half screenplay, packed to the endpapers with pop culture, The Tetherballs of Bougainville is a full-body experience.From the Publisher:
"Leyner is an original and immensely amusing writer as well as a provocative social critic."
Washington Post BookWorld
"Leyner is the poet laureate of information overload."
New York Times Magazine
"Leyner throws out every rule...(and is) distinctive for articulating impossible combinations of reality that other people grasp in dreams."
"Leyner's brilliantly discontinuous humor invites comparison with Wiliam Burroughs, Donald Barthelme, and the comedian Steven Wright. It's rude, epic schtick that begs to be read aloud to friends and strangers alike--if only you could figure out where to stop."
"Most current fiction is as well made and exciting as floral wall paper; but here is a writer willing to decorate the room with the contents of his own dynamited head."
"Marvelously inventive, as nonlinear and unempirical as S.J. Perlman was in his time. And he can be hysterical."
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Descripción Harmony. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0517701014 Ships promptly. Nº de ref. de la librería Z0517701014ZN
Descripción Harmony, 1997. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0517701014
Descripción Harmony, 1997. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110517701014