Synopses & Reviews
A wickedly funny and satisfyingly highbrow black comedy about the collapse of Western academic institutions under the weight of neoliberal economics and crushing, widespread idiocy.
Lars and W., the two preposterous philosophical anti-heroes of Spurious and Dogma—called “Uproarious” by the New York Times Book Review—return and face a political, intellectual, and economic landscape in a state of total ruination.
With philosophy professors being moved to badminton departments and gin in short supply—although not short enough—the two hapless intellectuals embark on a relentless mission. Well, several relentless missions. For one, they must help gear a guerilla philosophy movement—conducted outside the academy, perhaps under bridges—that will save the study of philosophy after the long, miserable decades of intellectual desert known as the early 21st-century.
For another, they must save themselves, perhaps by learning to play badminton after all. Gin isn’t free, you know.
"Lars and W. return to complete Iyer's dialogic trilogy about these two 'friends of thought.' W.'s position at the university has been saved from termination by a legal technicality, but since they've still closed the humanities department in which he worked, he has been relegated to teaching the sports science students. The pair decide they must go on a lecture tour of Britain to witness the ruins of the humanities and the destruction of philosophy. Their journey, told in vignettes, alternates between W. frequently insulting Lars' intelligence going as far as pointing out how Lars fits the 14 types of stupidity listed in Wikipedia and W. lamenting his own lack of accomplishments, pondering his significance, and wondering if he should have left Britain like his former colleagues. There are amusing passages, like W.'s rumination on bovine intelligence or the question of why Lars must remove his trousers every time he visits W., but much of the banter becomes tedious with W.'s consistent abuse of Lars. Readers who are familiar with the first two books in the trilogy, Spurious and Dogma, will find the third just as entertaining, but those who are new to Iyer's work should probably start at the beginning. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
LARS IYER is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He is the author of two books on Blanchot (Blanchot’s Communism: Art, Philosophy, Politics and Blanchot’s Vigilance: Phenomenology, Literature, Ethics) and his blog Spurious. He is also a contributor to Britain’s leading literary blog, Ready, Steady, Book.