Synopses & Reviews
The hero of Carl Reiner's nutty and wonderful novel, Nat Noland, is hard at work on his fifth book, his own version of Genesis, concentrating on the relationship between Cain and Abel. While investigating their relationship, he starts to investigate his relationship with himself. His doting wife, Glennie, gets worried when she hears him having a loud, heated discussion while he's alone in the basement. Because he is unaware that he is talking to himself in two distinct voices she encourages him to seek the help of the famous Viennese psychiatrist Dr. Frucht.
After a few sessions, Dr. Frucht elicits descriptions of Nat's recurring childhood dreams and the fact that he never knew his biological parents. In the lobby, when Nat bumps into the lovely Dr. Gertrude Trampleasure, an empathologist, she tells him how much he resembles her old teenage sweetheart, Buddy Keebler: "You two could be twins!" With the assistance of a private eye, Nat embarks on a quest to search for this "twin" and his unknown past, while continuing to work on his biblical novel, NNNNN.
"The grand poobah of American comedy has authored the memoir My Anecdotal Life, several children's books and the autobiographical novels Enter Laughing (1958) and Continue Laughing (1996); here he checks in with a midlife crisisfueled tale of a schlep's search for his origins. Nat Noland, a successful romance novelist, is hard at work on his latest book (of the same title as Reiner's), a spin on the Cain and Abel tale. When Nat's inner dialogue becomes a heated debate between himself and, well, himself his chipper wife, Glennie, signs him up with Dr. Frucht, a Viennese psychiatrist. Thus begins Nat's journey of self-discovery. Over the course of his cross-country travels, Nat, who was adopted, learns the incredible, lurid story of his birth parents his dancer mother, Lena Lomax, and his father, Dr. Grimshade ("Calling that dung ball a dirty bastard is a compliment!...And so, shmucko, is calling that scumbag a dung ball!" Nat exclaims to himself). In New Orleans, Nat also finds his maternal grandfather, John Lomax. Slapstick cases of mistaken identity begin piling up, and tearful reunions ensue. Sloppy and speedy in a have-to-smile kind of way, this novel hits below-the-borscht belt." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Venerable comedic genius Reiner continues to amuse in a diverse variety of formats....This humorous romp through the psyche of an endearingly kooky author will find a ready-made audience in Reiner's legion of fans." Booklist (Starred Review)
"This bland tale is intended as bawdy farce, but NNNNN with its clunky, shticky dialogue and plodding structure (a 40-page happy ending?) reads like an outline in which Carl Reiner forgot to insert the fun. (Grade: C-)" Entertainment Weekly
"As intricately tricky as a Rubik's cube, a literary equivalent of an Escher drawing, Carl Reiner's novelistic maze is a stunnnnner." Larry Gelbart, creator of "M*A*S*H" and author of Laughing Matters
"He's made us laugh over the little things in our lives. Now, starting with just the letter n, Carl Reiner builds an intriguing puzzle of intersecting lives in a story that ranges across the world and back to Adam and Eve." Alan Alda, author of Never Have Your Dog Stuffed
"Carl Reiner has written a thoughtful, funny, and slightly alarming book. This book continues his tradition of making trouble where it needs to be made." Steve Martin, author of Shopgirl
"The novella reads like a television movie (with the F word and sex put back into it wink, wink, nudge, nudge) that cuts straight to the punch lines....Funny, but it could have been funnier..." Library Journal
"Many readers will guess what is coming in the risible plot line....Although his novel isn't likely to leave a deep imprint, NNNNN is charming and clever enough to satisfy those with a healthy tolerance for the absurd." Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Carl Reiner, a comedian, actor, novelist, and film director, was a creator, writer, and producer of The Dick Van Dyke Show. In 1999, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American humor by the Kennedy Center and inducted into the Television Hall of Fame by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He most recently appeared in Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve. He lives in Beverly Hills, California.