A writer who intentionally engages in bathetic writing to generate laughs runs the risk of descending into "silliness," embarrassing himself and the reader, and Sorrentino suffers from this here and there in the headline novel, but when he hits just the right note he is hilarious, as in his description of the business methods employed in the unnamed publishing house protagonist Martin Halpin runs with his partner Ned:
"Ned Beaumont and I devised contracts that scrambled, boiled, fried, poached, roasted, sautéed, baked, broiled, and basted our faithful authors at every turn; marvels of economy, they ever wert."
And I should mention that my earlier comments on Claude Simon's The Trolley were superficial and ridiculous and should be disregarded. This novella, on closer inspection, is a gem.
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