Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The following is a survey of soon-to-be-published novels titled with the increasingly faddish “-ist” formula (à la David Maine’s The Preservationist, Hari Kunzru’s The Impressionist, James P. Othmer’s The Futurist, Martha Cooley’s The Archivist, Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist, Donald Antrim’s The Verificationist, Stephen Glass’s The Fabulist, and Peter Rock’s The Ambidextrist, to name but a few):
By Hector Pesca
In the south of Brazil in the 1970s, a psychologist who has made millions convincing Portuguese-speaking TV audiences that there are eight sides to every relationship argument makes the troubling discovery of a ninth. Seeking the council of a former academic mentor and tantric lover, the two begin to unravel a centuries-old conspiracy conceived by a class of romantics wishing to be forever misunderstood.
The Moving Violationist
By Lyle Brouse
An unrepentant illegal lane changer is handed the punishment of riding a slow-moving Rascal “scooter” to work every day. At first humiliated in his helmet and biking gloves, he soon discovers the discreet garage pleasures of scooter modding, and, spending weekends collecting trophies in geriatric race circuits, his old reckless driving habits threaten to undermine his budding talent … and his life.
By Lucy May Myers
A nonagenarian grandmother’s deep concern over whether all of her progeny have had enough to eat at Thanksgiving dinner causes her brow to furrow beyond known physical limits. Her face flat on the shag for the following three minutes and twenty-six seconds, she embarks on a decade-long hallucinatory inner journey with two trusty companions: Verne Lundquist and Bobby, a trouble-making sheepdog made of yarn.
The Ontological Tobogganist
By D. B. Urbina
A precocious ten-year-old girl in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, injures her head in a New Year’s’ Eve sledding accident and spends the subsequent twenty years in a coma with her deaf, guilt-ridden brother at her side, reading to her books on the nature of existence. When she emerges from her state, the ravages of a delayed, explosive puberty render life nearly unbearable for her O.C.D. I.B.S. parents.
The Gyrationist’s Manifesto
By Susanna B. Squibb
A double-jointed Las Vegas stripper spends an evening relaying an oral history of her life to an impotent, nearly broke car salesman from Wichita. When dawn breaks, they’re married by a Don Rickles impersonator-cum-Universal Life Church minister and find considerably more waiting for them back in Wichita than a mold remediated Tony Roma’s bought with her years of tips.
The Periodontist, the Dermatologist, the Proctologist
By Joe Arlinghaus
Y.A. trilogy following the medical careers and intertwined lives of three New England siblings who each independently uncover a secret, magical realm and a tantalizingly powerful, yet unpredictable, medical device with both the supreme power to heal and the terrifying power to cause mouth ulcers, adult acne, and hemorrhoids.
The Venerealist’s Wife
By Gary Lavender
After Beau Jangles disproves the theory that what his wife (Bonnie) doesn’t know won’t hurt her, he dies, leaving her hunting for black market-medications—and red-light-district answers. But could it be that she has more than V.D. in common with the skanky prostitutes she interviews—more than even she can bear to admit?
By Seth Oren
A powerful N.Y. tort attorney and weekend hobbyist has a habit of destroying painstakingly assembled model sailboats moments shy of their completion. When he finally sees this as a metaphor for all the relationships in his life, he quits his job and embarks on the creation of a full-scale schooner, while the supple, helping hands of estranged malpractice specialists start adding up.
While quietly enduring an old, loveless marriage, a breeder of rare gerbils hits rock bottom when his pet store is destroyed by fire. Among the ashes, he discovers the diary of a hermaphroditic 18th century dressmaker and an unexpected emotional rekindling.
The Last Secretionist
By L. C. Smith
The final, childless, claret smoking jacket socialite in a long line of deviated septum Corpus Cristie billionaires shares with his paterfamilias a penchant for hunting exotic, endangered game on offshore reserves until a round of Himalayan black bear poaching near a Khampa warrior encampment goes horribly wrong and, one by one, the men and their Sherpas become the hunted.
By Suze Trepagnier
Barcelona Le Chevalier collects handsome lovers—and the musical instruments they leave behind. Callously selling the latter on eBay, she soon finds herself enraptured by orchestral sounds drifting from her neighbor’s apartment. When the wealthy, hunchback neighbor turns out to have been paying musicians to play for him, Barcelona experiences a deluge of memories of an ill-fated Sadie Hawkins dance with a rhythm-challenged hairlip from her childhood.
The Capricorn Dwarfist
By Jasper Ornick
The world’s leading astronomical expert on an obscure, distant galaxy begins hearing coded alien messages, but only while immersed in the wave pools of suburban recreation centers. Six months later, broke and wrinkled as a prune, the rotund scientist faces the quandary of either delivering his findings to a dubious American Astronomical Society or developing a stylish line of men’s halter-neck maillot swimwear.