American Paranoid Restaurant and Other Stories
A meditation on identity, consumption, and pareidolia. Ninety-five percent true by semi-exact count. Contains the word “boudoir” twice, “polaroid” and “french fries” six times apiece, and “ejecta” only once. An everyman plot, with the faceless nameless protagonist stumbling from situation to counter-situation, attempting to make sense of graveyards, mascots, evangelicalism, cannibals, documentary filmmakers, and entrepreneurs. An American-style roman à clef circling sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but a muted one, for an audience raised more on PBS than the Ed Sullivan Show, reading David Foster Wallace in college rather than Hunter Thompson: while the narrator occasionally hints at a “wave speech,” he never manages to crest that impulse and carry through. Instead, he passively observes and reports on what people tell him, and in the process, reports for the reader on the malaise and febrile dreams ingenerate in a society built around the consumption of ideas.