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The Cry of the Sloth

Sam Savage, Author
Sam Savage, Author , illus. by Michael Mikolowski. Coffee House $14.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-56689-231-5
Reviewed on: 06/15/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Hardcover - 248 pages - 978-0-297-85649-8
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-7538-2760-4
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-56689-264-3
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-0-7538-2655-3
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Middle-aged underachiever Andy Whittaker plots a preposterous literary festival in this scathingly funny epistolary pastiche from Firmin author Savage. Andy is the editor of Soap , an inconsequential literary magazine ridiculed by rival The Art News , which Andy dismisses as “the in-house journal for a tiny clique of very conventional, very middle-class writers and painters.” His wife, Jolie, has left him, his mother is dying and the apartment buildings inherited from his father are crumbling. Fern Moss, a precocious poetess, taunts Andy with provocative poems and photos, while Dahlberg Stint, a hardware store employee and former Soap contributor, sends increasingly sinister threats. After his phone is shut off, a beleaguered Andy hunkers down to compose plaintive letters to Jolie, excuses for not visiting his mother, dismissive replies to Soap hopefuls, snide notes to his tenants, pitiful missives to a former one-night-stand, fake letters to the editor and “prose poems, little existential parables of tedium and despair, set in Africa probably.” Andy's self-aggrandizing and self-pitying grow more desperate as Savage expertly skewers Andy's comically insufferable exterior to reveal the tragic if insubstantial soul of a frustrated writer. (Sept.)

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