Tragic Hilarity

The author of Mr. Peanut has a new book: Ladies and Gentlemen. Reviewed at The B&N Review:

All these kinds, but mostly the last, are on dark display in the interactions between the characters of Adam Ross’s collection of stories, Ladies and Gentlemen, his first book to be published since his debut novel, Mr. Peanut, landed last June to wildly mixed reviews. In keeping with his theme, he has chosen the perfect epigraph to introduce a work that addresses the issue in all its guises: “Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself; it only requires opportunity” (George Eliot).

Opportunity there is. The first story, “Futures,” features forty-three-year-old David Applebow, a feckless job seeker who stumbles upon an ad that is enticing for its vagueness. “THE FUTURE IS NOW. Are you perceptive, analytical, a troubleshooter? Have excellent interpersonal skills you were never sure how to parlay into $$$?” The fact that neither the ad, nor the subsequent interviewers, ever get around to stating what the job actually entails only adds to its allure. Sharing with most of the other protagonists in the book a debilitating self-criticism (call it self-cruelty), from which he rallies with only the most excruciating effort, Applebow jumps at the job opportunity, permits himself to feel his fortunes rise, and ends up making an ass of himself. Corporate cruelty, specifically the cavalier type of the entertainment industry, is the culprit this time, though we don’t know it until the final annihilating few pages.



Recent Posts




Criticism Isn't Free


CR is dedicated to thoughtful, in-depth criticism without regard to what's commercially appealing. It takes tens of hours each month to provide this. Please help make this sort of writing sustainable, either with a subscription or a one-time donation. Thank you!

You could also purchase one of my acclaimed ebooks.





Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

THE SURRENDER

The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


LADY CHATTERLEY'S BROTHER

Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


THE LATIN AMERICAN MIXTAPE

5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2018. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.