A Brilliant Novel in the Works.

Author:Carter, Trina
Position:Book review

Yuvi Zalkow (author); A BRILLIANT NOVEL IN THE WORKS; MP Publishing (Fiction: General) 13.95 ISBN: 9781849821650

Byline: Trina Carter

I know! Let's write a novel about nothing! Nothing? Nothin'. Zilch. Bupkis.

If that sounds familiar, it is. As fans of Seinfeld can attest, it's a great setup -- as long as you can pull it off. Whether the author/hero of this novel does is debatable. Many may find the whiny humor and deceptive banality of A Brilliant Novel in the Works amusing, while others might find it tiresome. Even the narrator (a.k.a. the novelist) himself feels terrible that he can't keep one coherent thought in his head. He calls his own novel "a steaming pile of personal essays with no plot except one about an author who has no idea how to write a novel."

A Brilliant Novel in the Works is a pastiche. As the narrator says, "I use the approach of having no approach." This allows him to digress at will into italicized flights of fancy or flashbacks that his editor tells him "to avoid like a gastrointestinal plague." He's too self-absorbed to see anything around him. He obsesses that his wife is sick of him and wants him to be different than "the me that I am."

And just who is he?

A self-described "scrawny little Jew who writes scrawny little stories." Like the author, he lives in Portland, Oregon. (The author's website says he's "a novelist, failed writer, schmo," though Yuvi Zalkow has published stories in...

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