Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bowl of Cherries Is Another Success for McSweeney's

Just finished a hilarious book that I wrote about when I first started reading it several weeks ago. Published by the brilliant folks at McSweeney's, the now-deceased Millard Kaufman's take on what happens when a fairly aimless American kid goes to a rural area of Iraq (where the prime export is human excrement) turns into quite the adventure in colonialism.

McSweeney's own short description is well put:

Kicked out of Yale at age 14, Judd Breslau falls in with Phillips Chatterton, a bathrobe-wearing Egyptologist working out of a dilapidated home laboratory. There, young Valerie Chatterton quickly leads Breslau away from his research and into, in order: the attic, a Colorado equestrian ranch, a porn studio beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, and a jail cell in southern Iraq, where we find him awaiting his own execution while the war rages on in the north. Written by a 90-year-old debut novelist who's also an ex-Marine, a two-time Oscar nominee, and one of the co-creators of Mr. Magoo, Bowl of Cherries rivals the liveliest comic novels for sheer gleeful inventiveness. This is a book of astounding breadth and sharp consequence, containing all the joy, derangement, terror, and doubt of adolescence and everything after.

***1/2 out of ***** stars

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