Friday, April 29, 2011
The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney, a novel, by Christopher Higgs
(2010, Sator Press)
Am I allowed to review a book that I haven’t finished reading yet?
It may be, as the author has elsewhere suggested--his examples being Mark Danielewski’s Only Revolutions or Ben Marcus’s Notable American Women--“too good to finish.” (Though, it should be noted, Marcus’s Notable American Women was good enough that I finished it, while his debut, The Age of Wire and String, was, for me, too good to finish. Either way, I understand the sentiment.)
I don’t plan on exalting The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney (named after this Marvin K. Mooney) to that status until, literally, I am paralyzed to finishing it.
Thus far though, I must tell you, it has the strength to render the positive wonderment of too-good paralysis.
Though, you don’t know that I haven’t finished it: I have.
At least I’ve been reading it since it arrived in my PO Box yesterday.
That long ago.
Synopsis: The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney is everything enough to be nothing and vice versa. It’s intensely ridiculous and ridiculously intelligent--like, ridiculously so.
In fact, it made me think of Steve Tomasula/Stephen Farrell’s Vas: An Opera in Flatland (maybe because I just barely finished Vas?). Not because the books are particularly similar--though they are both intensely smart and splintered into the most far-flung fragments of novelization--but because they make learning fun! As wonderfully corny as that sounds. While Vas is as much an in-depth unearthing of the history/politics of human genetics as it is story of a husband considering a vasectomy, The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney is as much a treatise on post-modernism as it is a whip-lashingly, grin-inducing, gut-punch of a novel.
Seriously, imagine me reading these novels with a wide smile on my face and a thought bubble overhead: I’m learning AND having fun! Because this literally happened.
Though, and I'll say it (Notre Dame having already passed interest on me), Higgs's work (and Mooney's, I suppose) is much more enjoyable in my taste.
A sampling of words I've learned so far, while reading Mooney:
(Like dinosaur names, right?)
Some words/phrases from Mooney that I already knew:
Anyway, I really like it. And you would probably like it too, I think. No, you would like it. Period.
And, awesomely enough (I haven't seen it tried before in books), Sator Press is currently offering the gem using the pay-what-you-want model. So, if anything, now is a perfect opportunity to put some dollar bills toward an awesome piece of literature.
Really, you haven't read anything like this before.
Bravo Mooney/Higgs/Sator Press!