A swell find

On a whim (and on the colorful eccentricities of the cover) I picked up My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist (by Mark Leyner) in a used bookstore, bought it, and read it. I’d never heard of the author, and the title certainly wasn’t something I remembered having seen before. But the book turned out to be a delightful read. Seventeen short stories, even though the back cover mentions only 16. I’m incredibly suspicious that it’s probably the sort of book that you’d either love or hate. It’s kind of polarizing. Here’s a random sentence, to give you an idea what we’re dealing with here:

Dad was in the basement centrifuging mouse spleen hybridoma, when I informed him that I’d enrolled at the Wilford Military Academy of Beauty.

And then there’s this:

it was the night before the night before christmas we were all watching leni riefenstahl’s documentary of the 1936 berlin olympics bubbles eyed the screen quizzically, is that a finn? she gesticulated

And this:

He’d never shot a woman before. He’d shot men, plenty of them. Shot them, bludgeoned them, garroted them, drowned them, poisoned them, he’d even pushed some poor slob out of a 747 as he crapped in his pants and pleaded for his life. But he’d never shot a woman before. No, wait a minute. He haad shot a woman before. There was that dance therapist in Fort Lauderdale.

You get the idea, maybe. On the back cover, David Foster Wallace makes some reference to “our century’s mental furniture.” But don’t let that deter you. Use your own razor-sharp judgement.