by Lars Iyer


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Spurious 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
jasonpettus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)By all laws of the current literary market, the comedic novels Spurious and Dogma by philosopher Lars Iyer (comprising two-thirds of an as-yet unfinished trilogy) shouldn't really exist at all, and it's a testament to the suddenly hot Melville House that they've not only published them, but have been promoting the newest with all the pomp and resources usually afforded only to Stephen King potboilers; for these are not traditional novels nearly as much as they are the spiritual grandchildren of Samuel Beckett, absurdist and cyclical tales where the point is not really to see "what happens" but rather to wallow in the abstract pleasures of language itself. Comprised as a series of conversations between a philosopher who just happens to be named Lars and his doppelganger and frenemy known only as W., and with the story details grounded in just exactly enough reality to seem plausible (they live on opposite sides of Britain; W. has recently become a Malcolm-Gladwell-type popular public prognosticator; Lars is experiencing a mysterious mold problem in his house that threatens to take over the entire building), readers will nonetheless get quickly frustrated if expecting such silly things from these books as a plot or character development; instead, this is more like getting a glimpse of what it must be like inside the head of a college professor while they're in the middle of having a nervous breakdown, a series of funny yet sometimes impossible-to-follow rants and arguments between the two that reference as many obscure thinkers and experimental artists as Family Guy does '80s television shows (and many times just as randomly). I agree with a lot of other critics I've come across, that I immensely enjoyed these silly yet high-falutin' comedies, but can't imagine another human being who will as well; and for that many unrelated strangers to say the same thing is a powerful statement indeed, and makes one understand why the publisher has put such a big promotional push behind what's essentially the very definition of idiosyncratic writing. As you can tell, it takes a special type of personality to enjoy these books; but if you're already a fan of such things as Waiting for Godot and A Confederacy of Dunces, you owe it to yourself to at least take a stab at these frustrating but ultimately satisfying head-scratchers.Out of 10: 8.8