Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Best Book of Fall

The problem with seduction is time.   You have to figure out that you are attracted to somebody, plot a means of approach, work up your courage, and execute your plan in finest form before the object of your affection gets off the subway.  You have to move.  And when you see that special someone gathering to hand the purses, backpacks, and other accoutrement of daily life, you know that your deadline is looming.  What do you do?

If you are Maynard Gogarty, you pull the emergency break cord.  And if you are Rudolf Delson, author of this season's best book, Maynard and Jennica, you give the subway its due say, along with a macaw, a scheming ex-wife, a man named Puppy Jones, scumbag lawyers, and Jennica Greene, the woman who provoked Maynard's subway impulse.  This love story is told by thirty-five narrators (befitting, I think, the way love stories should be told -- in mock grandiosity, a bit like Bugs Bunny doing opera).  

 The New Yorker has a better write up than I can provide here.  Suffice to say that the path by which Maynard and Jennica find each other extends well beyond the number 6 train, to San Jose, to avant guard film, to 9-11 scams, to really exceptionally bad poets, and to a cat whose name is a matter of some dispute.  So rather than spending a cold fall rehashing yet another Philip Roth, wrap a blanket around your shoulders, pick up something new, and warm yourself up with Maynard and Jennica.  Worst that can happen is you spend a few hours laughing your butt off.

Also: coolest cover of the season, by far.