Friday, August 17, 2012

Richard Sings the Praises of the Nutsack (to the tune of Billy Joel's Movin' Out).

So far the anti-Nutsack contingent is not airing their grievances on the blog, but I know they are out there, muttering into their PBR about the frustrating lack of plot in this "novel" and the infuriating monotony of the whole affair.  Fair enough, but I'd argue that, in many ways, those very elements make it perhaps the most fitting selection yet for the original "goals" of PBR Book Club: to read pompous, postmodern, meta, "difficult," works.

Courtneybelle's previous defense of the novel lists off various reasons that Nutsack may be rubbing its readers the wrong way, among them the fact that it _might_ be delivering religious messages (of one sort or another) beneath its many layers of navel-gazing and outrageous vulgarity.  Maybe.  Though it seems to me that Leyner's central concerns are the central concerns of so many of our chosen books thus far (especially Cloud Atlas and 2666):  the role of reading and storytelling in our lives and interconnections of life and art.

Leyner is especially interested in the idea of the "epic," and we find out soon enough that The Sugar Frosted Nutsack is an orally transmitted, constantly evolving work recited by blind bards while swilling Sunkist (the official drink of the Nutsack).  The "hero" of this epic is Ike Karton, a "SUPER-SEXY" New Jersey butcher, but the story deliberately lacks all the narrative momentum, the "journey," that we expect from epics and instead becomes mired in constant "exegesis" (a favorite word of Leyner, it seems), as each new addition to the epic is constantly parsed, leading us further and further away from the original narrative.  One could potentially see Leyner's book as a critique of "theory," which leads us further and further away from the work itself, but of course that's complicated by the fact that Leyner seems to fully embrace every post-modern and meta trick in the book (complete with a wildly clever loophole that absolves the "author" of all the work's faults:  the most annoying and lewd sections are actually "interpolations" by the God XOXO, trying to sabotage the work). I find Nutsack annoying?  Yes.  Do I find it smart?  Yes. Ostentatiously so, but undeniably intelligent.  And, most importantly, is it funny? Well, I just laughed out loud numerous times during the "75 Sex Tips From the Gods" section.


Surely our Nutsack meeting will offer many opportunities for participation, given the fact that it's meant to be performed as we down Sunkist while chanting "Ike, Ike, Ike" to ward away XOXO:

"But remember, when you chant "Ike, Ike, Ike, Ike, Ike" to fend off the spiteful interpretations of XOXO, it absolutely has to sound like Popeye laughing or like Billy Joel in 'Movin' Out (Anthony's Song),' or it won't work."

Another observation:  I'm certain than Mark Leyner is a lunatic.


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