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Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World
Synopses & Reviews
Pete Robinson never meant to suggest the drawing-and-quartering of mayor Kunkel, although he did mention that Toyotas and Subarus might make excellent substitues for horses. But, after all, the fact that Mayor Jim Kunkel had first fired Stinger missiles into the Botanical Garden reflecting pool, massacring innocent picknickers, did require some kinds of response. In this lovely seaside community, Turtle Pond Park is stocked with claymore mines and most houses are fronted by moats swimming with water moccasins or pits filled with wooden spikes.
Amid all this bedlam, Pete Robinson, former third-grade teacher and amateur medievlist with a 1:32 scale model Inquisition-era interrogation chamber in his basement, has an epiphany: he should run for mayor. Here, in Donald Antrim's first novel, are the elements that have made him one of the most critically acclaimed writers of our day: the unerringly astutue and skewed observations, the precise and brilliant language, and the uncanny ability to create wildly funny narrative out of the margins of our culture.
"While definitely not a mainstream work, this first novel should be seriously considered for its cutting-edge approach." David W. Henderson, Library Journal
"A glorious piece of gallows humor...A morgent, morbid surburban gothic about the primative animal seething and roaring just to meet the social skin...rendered with a flawlessly controlled irony that's black as midnight and dry as bone. A georgeous full-frontal assult on 'family values' and all such camp." Patrick McGrath
"Mr. Antrim [is] a writer of undeniable power and sensuality...but just when you think it's ready to send you the picture, to reveal the trek's destination, you realize there's nothing there." Ed Weiner, The New York Times Book Review
"Hilarious and terrifying...Antrim is armed with a load of sulfurous wit." Adam Begley, Maribella
"[A] dark, suburban fantasy... richly funny, even whimsical, and bizarrely familiar." The New Yorker
"Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World [is] a slice of sulfurous whimsy....You are drawn in because of the depth of human feeling that Antrim smuggles in... almost below radar level." New York Times
"Entertaining and mischievously imagined....Antrim is a wonderful, truly original comic writer." San Francisco Chronicle
"This hilarious work is written without chapters, a lucid stream-of-consciousness that unfolds in a matter of days....Antrim is a master of language — fluid metaphors and exquisite profanity roll from his pen with equal grace." Natalie Taylor, SL Weekly
In his first novel, Elect Mr. Robinson For a Better World, Donald Antrim demonstrates all of the skill that critics have hailed in his subsequent work: the pitch-perfect ear, the cunning imagination, and the uncanny control of a narrative at once familiar and incandescently strange.
In Pete Robinsons seaside suburban town, things have, well, fallen into disrepair. The voters have de-funded schools, the mayor has been drawn and quartered by an angry mob of townsmen, and Turtle Pond Park is stocked with claymore mines. Pete Robinson, third grade teacher with a 1:32 scale model of an Inquisition dungeon in his basement, wants to open a new school, and in his effort to do so he stumbles upon another idea: he needs to run for mayor. Uniquely hilarious, this novel is a horrifyingly insightful tale of a world not so very different from the one in which we live.
About the Author
Donald Antrim is the author of three novels, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World, The Hundred Brothers and The Verificationist. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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