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Crustby Lawrence Shainberg
Synopses & Reviews
“Wild as sin and as exceptional as the lower reaches of insanity itself.”—Norman Mailer
“One of the most perverse satires I’ve ever read.”—Jonathan Lethem
"[A] Vonnegut-worthy satire." —Joshua Glenn, Boston Globe
"A postmodern examination of the self that teases the very idea of postmodernism... that rare bit of lampoonery that is both humorous and smart." —Tod Goldberg, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Half DeLillo's Jack Gladney, professor of Hitler studies at College-on-the-Hill, and half Christopher Hitchens, Linchak is a model pundit for a post-9/11 age: death-obsessed, long-winded, addicted to Googling himself, and, on the sly, an inveterate nose-picker. Crust is about mindless compulsion, or the digital search for oblivion, or a comment on the jaded habits of a citizenry that's had its private domain annexed by omnipotent admen." —Zach Baron, Village Voice
The epigraph for this uproarious novel is from Marcel Duchamp: “Everything that man handles has a tendency to secrete meaning.” In this case, the secretion begins as a crust in the nose of famed novelist Walker Linchak. Its extraction leads to further secretion in the form of intellectual and spiritual insight into “the habit once called nose-picking”; a book, The Complete Book of Nasalism, a memoir about his breakthrough; an endless succession of blog entries; and a constant rush of e-mail exchanges with friends like George W. Bush, who is moved by Linchak’s passion for the habit to confess his own on Larry King Live.
Joining the stream of nose-picking research and literature that already exists on the Internet, Linchak’s secretion generates more of the same in books, the visual arts, all forms of media, academic scholarship, and medical and scientific research on crusts and their extraction.
Crust is the book that Swift would produce if he took on Information Glut.
Lawrence Shainberg is the author of two novels—One on One and Memories of Amnesia—and the nonfiction books Brain Surgeon: An Intimate View of His World and Ambivalent Zen. His fiction and journalism have appeared in Esquire, Harper’s Magazine, Tricycle, and The New York Times Magazine. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for a monograph on Samuel Beckett, published in The Paris Review.
"In this postmodern satire set several years in the future, noted intellectual Walker Linchak, author of landmark books about AIDS and 9/11, finds a way out of writer's block through a surprising act: picking his nose. Linchak discovers a euphoria that provokes him to blog about the activity, and the blog, of course, becomes immensely popular. Sara, Linchak's young editor wife, catches on to the joys of rhinotillexis and convinces the media conglomerate she works for to create a mass market campaign to ride the wave of this new social phenomenon. Even George W. Bush gets in on the act; nose-picking has allowed him to be authentic and truthful in a way he couldn't be during his administration. This is a psychotically narrow pseudo-intellectual romp, filled with pop-cultural references and technology gone wild. The author makes a convincing connection between uninhibited nose picking and the proliferation of the quick fix in a media-saturated world, though Shainberg has trouble in the third act, and the novel sputters to a conclusion that's too goofy even for a book with a finger up its nose ." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Crust is a ferociously potent satire that is equal parts George Orwell and Christopher Guest.
About the Author
Lawrence Shainberg's books include Ambivalent Zen, Brain Surgeon: An Intimate View of His World, and the novels Memories of Amnesia and One on One. He has had numerous essays published in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Tricycle, The Village Voice, Evergreen, and a Pushcart Prize-winning monograph on Samuel Beckett published in the Paris Review.
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