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Saul Dressing is a flabby middle-aged librarian who just wants to be left alone to listen to jazz, watch porn, and cultivate his toenails. All of this changes when a soldier in a camouflage sweat suit shows up to draft him into the army of the United States of Everything. His mission is simple: go to a foreign country no one has ever heard of and incite the opposition to strike ...
Saul Dressing is a flabby middle-aged librarian who just wants to be left alone to listen to jazz, watch porn, and cultivate his toenails. All of this changes when a soldier in a camouflage sweat suit shows up to draft him into the army of the United States of Everything. His mission is simple: go to a foreign country no one has ever heard of and incite the opposition to strike first. All alone in the middle of a desert with no enemy in sight, Saul must come to terms with the absurdity of his situation. Thus begins a surreal journey into the politics of war, consumerism, and giant robots.
It's Rambo meets Waiting for Godot in this subversive satire of American values and the scope of the human imagination.
Posted June 28, 2011
Andersen Prunty is a friend of mine. I guess more of a "colleague" if you want to get pretentious considering we are both involved in the bizarro fiction scene and only see each other once a year (although we speak on the phone once or twice a month, maybe.) Andy, as he is known by people who speak on the phone with him once or twice a month, sent me this book for free, likely because he is familiar with my status as a dirt poor graduate student. So I was talking on the phone with him tonight and asked him if he wanted me to write a review, considering receiving free books makes me feel obligated to reciprocate with a review. And he said, "Ok."
I would like to add here that I strongly dislike writing reviews. I find them difficult to do well and they usually take me longer to write than ANYTHING else, so I recently vowed to never write a review again. But I asked Andy if he was ok with a review that I put absolutely no effort into, and he was, so here is a review that I am putting no effort into. Perhaps what I write below this will be helpful to the potential reader. Perhaps it will not.
Anyway, I see a lot of reviews of bizarro books by bizarro authors, and I think a potential buyer may think they lack some degree of validity, and this may be the case. But they would be less necessary if more readers were writing more reviews (the small press needs your help!).
So as a preface, I think I'm more critical of bizarro books than most of the authors who are involved in the scene (although I usually keep my mouth shut in public forums). This makes me feel like a jerk sometimes.
So let's get to My Fake War, but not just yet. First I want to mention Andy's other books: I love love love love his novella, Zerostrata. His others are decent, but do not excite me like Zerostrata.
I have also published a few of his stories in my literary journal, and one of them excited me, but not nearly on the same level as Zerostrata.
Ok, so it's time to talk about My Fake War. I usually do not like "war books." There is something about them that turns me off. I do not know what this is. But the first half of My Fake War excited me. Probably because it is a fake war book rather than a war book. The first half excited me as much as my Zerostrata reading experience. Silently in my head, I was screaming, "Andy Prunty is back! He is back!" And considering the protagonist is alone with no one to talk to throughout much of this section, this is quite an achievement. It is difficult to engage the reader with a protagonist who is mostly spending his time alone.
But then the second half comes along, and my excitement dwindled. It was too action-y for me. Like zombies, I think action is better translated in the medium of film. It usually gets boring for me, although there are the occasional exceptions, often dealing with zaniness and unreality. There was a little of this, but not enough.
So if you like action in your lit, this is a freakin' awesome book. Buy it if you're looking for a good introduction to Andy. If you're more like me, get Zerostrata, which is a surreal/absurd romance that will, pardon my cliché, blow your mind.