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Indecisionby Benjamin Kunkel
Synopses & Reviews
Dwight B. Wilmerding is only twenty-eight, but he's having a midlife crisis. He lives a dissolute existence in a tiny apartment with three (sometimes four) slacker roommates, holds a mind-numbing job at the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, and has a chronic inability to make up his mind.
Encouraged by one of his roommates to try an experimental drug meant to banish indecision, Dwight jumps at the chance (not without some vacillation about the hazards of jumping) and swallows the first fateful pill. And when all at once he is "pfired" by Pfizer and invited to a rendezvous in exotic Ecuador with the girl of his long-ago prep-school dreams, he finds himself on the brink of a new life.
The trouble — well, one of the troubles — is that Dwight can't decide if the pills are working. Deep in the jungles of the Amazon, in the foreign country of a changed outlook, his would-be romantic escape becomes a hilarious journey into unbidden responsibility and unwelcome knowledge — and an unexpected raison d'être.
"Dwight B. Wilmerding, a feckless, 28-year-old college grad, stumbles upon an experimental drug to help him with his chronic inability to assert himself. He soon loses his tech support job and rashly jets off to South America in pursuit of an enigmatic, beautiful woman named. While Dwight's misadventures lead to some entertaining moments, the problem with this recording is simply that Frederic sounds much older than Dwight is supposed to be (dialogue crutches like 'dude' and 'like' don't ring true). Frederic is a good reader with a wry, sharp-edged delivery that works well with this type of material. His other characterizations are fine, and he shines in a memorable portrayal of Dwight's brash, commodities-trading father. The idea of treating the malaise of modern youth with pharmaceuticals is clever and conducive to several funny episodes, but Frederic's performance as the main character is a bit hard to swallow." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The funniest and smartest coming-of-age novel in years." Jay McInerney, The New York Times Book Review
"A very funny book...lyrical and even tender...Indecision brims with insight into the modern urban condition." Time Out New York
"Grabs your attention and won't let go....[This] book really knocked me out." The New York Times
"Paragraphs strewn with explosive packets of wit [and] intriguing ideas." San Francisco Chronicle
"One of this year's best debut novels." The New York Sun
"Because he's young and uses big words, Kunkel may unfairly be compared to David Foster Wallace or Rick Moody, but unlike them he has succeeded in writing a novel that's clever without being self-conscious." Washington Post
"In the end, it is Kunkel who seems undecided about whether his book should be a serious comment on American values and habits...or a lighthearted romp through the jungle of love and life." Library Journal
"Those who don't become impossibly annoyed with the hapless, initially whiny lead will enjoy seeing this well-paced tale through to the end. It isn't high art, but it's full of high spirits." Kirkus Reviews
"While Indecision offers lively commentary on the pros and cons of personal freedom, its rambling narrative makes for a decidedly rocky read." Booklist
About the Author
Benjamin Kunkel grew up in Colorado. He has written for Dissent, The Nation, and the The New York Review of Books, and is a founding editor of n+1 magazine.
From the Hardcover edition.
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