Thursday, June 08, 2006


The New York Review of Books reviewed Donald Antrim's new memoirin such glowing terms that I immediately purchased his previous books from Alibris (for $3 each). I read The Verificationist first, though it's his third novel, for no particular reason.

Though I enjoyed Antrim's fine writing and peculiarly excitable imagination, I'm not sure The Verificationist succeeds. For such a ridiculous novel to work it must be at once highly insightful and hilarious; this book is insightful only in ways many far better novels are, and is only occasionally funny.

I love reading psychoanalytic theory, so Antrim's idea--a group of analysts gathering in a pancake joint for a regular meeting find their gathering devolve into a surreal airborn orgy--had merits fitting it precisely up my alley. Alas, I've read better books in a similar vein by Nicholson Baker and Stanley Elkin and George Saunders, and those books made me laugh out loud. Antrim merely amused me. I'll read the rest of his work and let you know...

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