You will not meet Lutz Bassman at a book signing. That’s because he’s not real. But this surreal journey through parallel worlds, connected by miasmic and post-apocalyptic moods, is as True in a larger sense as it stylistic and poetic. The fact that the identity of the true author is known only to the publisher is a level of artifice that seems to fit the project to a tee. I’m not sure if this book is for everyone, it is a bit ‘out there,’ but I have a feeling that those who do enjoy it will absolutely love it.
Dery has been writing incisive cultural essays for decades now, and the quality of his analyses is not on the wane. His latest collection is a mind-bending exploration of Lady GaGa, American gun culture, Facebook, and a bunch of other cultural bric-a-brac. Its smart, funny, insightful, and probably the most easily approachable cultural criticism out there.
Going To The Dogs: The Story Of A Moralist by Erich Kastner
Recently released by my favorite publishing house, New York Review of Books Classics, this pre-World War II novel, set in the glitzy and decadent Berlin of the Weimar Republic, tells the tale of Jakob Fabian, “aged thirty-two, profession variable, at present advertising copywriter…weak heart, brown hair.” Fabian travels to and fro in those dark and foreboding days after the stock market crash but before the true terror of war begins. It’s a witty and interesting novel, but might not appeal to people who aren’t into historical fiction.
Verdict: BORROW (unless you absolutely love historical fiction, then BUY)
A certified classic that I was embarrassed to not have read. Now, not all books that are considered classics turn out to be worthy of the title. This book is. Wow. Moses Herzog, the titular character, takes us through his life and his age — his personal failures as well as those of humanity itself. It’s a touching and poignant book in which Saul Bellow’s muscular prose grabs you and holds your nose to the flame.