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Book Briefs

By Max Burbank
September 16 , 2001

A Delicate Tautology - By Heinz Feisen
(Hyperion; $24.95)
Puckish yet tightly constructed, Feisen's long awaited debut novel fulfills the promise of his spare, Zen-like contributions to "Humor in a Uniform." Unintentionally freed by a providential series of typos, Mental Patient August Mole haunts fin de cycle Vienna in the mistaken belief he is a Private Detective. "The Case of the Mysterious Client", as Mole describes his new life, develops in fits and starts, like an old Disney Nature Short featuring strange plants growing, blooming and inevitably dying in time lapse that you rented with Shrek, children's titles being two-for-one, and it's dusty box calling to you from the stacks in the voice of the child you once were, although in retrospect it seems more likely to have been an actual child hailing a peer who shares with you nothing more than your name, since though you keep trying to watch the damn thing, but find yourself in a Kitchen, a bathroom, an attic dormer overlooking the window of a neighbor who can't be bothered to buy drapes. Feisen's fondness for brutally graphic perversion offers welcome counterpoint to detailed esoterica on such subjects as Victorian Pipe-fitting and the forensic uses of petrified sidewalk gum.

Cha-Cha-Cha! - By Peyson Hillendale
(Viking, $29.99)
Hillendale's twenty-seventh novel gives lie to the notion that really thick books put off idiots. Narrated yet again by Harold 'Chesty' Mullcaster, if you tear out the seven hundred odd pages of 'period detail' that legions of addled, blue haired "Chesty-ites" could easily quote from the twenty-six previous books, you'll find your beach bag less cumbersome and the heretofore unnoticed puckish yet homoerotic menace of Mullcaster's chauffeur Clyde will shine that much more brightly.

A Blackmailed Neighbor - By Garrick Allen West
(Bee-Line, make me an offer)
I found this while organizing my late Uncle's estate sale. While somewhat dated and presumably mildew stained, this second paperback printing, originally titled "The Widow Was Ready!" remains a puckish comedy of manners and surprisingly hot.

Meat Grinder, collected poems 1972-2000 - By Hermione Wank-Phestical
(Random House, You need to know the price, what are you, the Library of friggin' Congress?)
I hate Poetry. Puckish.

My Wife is Not a Yeti! A Memoir - By Mullen 'Coodles' Messerson
(Puckish, $49.72)
The historical memoir, already on it's way down the stairs, gets a trip wire and a shove from surprisingly breathing off ventilator Vaudevillian 'Coodles' whom historians of the theater often overlook because he wasn't funny and his dancing so closely resembled epilepsy that Doctors were known to leap on stage during the performance. Ironically, though he now requires two canes to walk, his writing is awful.

Bodonoi: A Man and his Typeface - By Giuseppi Ponce
(Princeton University Press, Gum)
A fine follow up to last years The Stamp Hinge; A philatelist's History, this puckishly slim volume should prove of great interest to those with an obsessive fixation on fonts, but it doesn't.

John Adams: Skank - By Hugh JaSchvance
(Simon & Shyster, $35.00)
Poor timing for the release of an Adam's biography is compounded by the author seeming to be thinking of someone else. Puckishly inaccurate descriptions of our Second President as a "Towering dipsomaniacal Transvestite given to sudden fits of weeping, overly fond of the eye poke and kidney punch" combine with unlikely anecdotes (During a State dinner the President sneaks off to give Barbara Streisand a swirly) sourced by 'some very close friends', making this a book that could have been much better had the author only died before writing it.

Jurassic Park III - By Max Burbank
(Dreamworks QuickyPress, $6.95)
Insouciant, effervescent, spangly, extra Puckish with a Woody yet Sepia Toned afterbite, incandescent to the point of needing really dark glasses, this rarest of rare rarities, a novelization better than the book upon which a franchise was based sings like a Musical Saw played with Ozarkian mastery by an appallingly Inbred idiot Savant of the Musical Saw. This is the sort of young author (and thirty-nine is indeed young when compared with say ninety-eight or perhaps a Hundred-and-Three) who might well quit his day job were he published more, and buying multiple copies of his book could go a long way towards achieving that laudable goal.


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