The Tetherballs of Bougainville

Mark Leyner, Author Harmony $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-517-70101-0
Once again the superhero of his own Rabelaisian Chants of Maldoror, jaw-slackeningly inventive Esquire columnist Leyner (My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist; Et Tu Babe)--here a bare-chested 13-year-old in Versace leather jeans--has just won a $250,000-a-year-for-life prize for ""best screenplay written by a student at Maplewood Junior High."" That's the good news. The bad news is that he hasn't written the screenplay yet (he credits ""a powerful agent"")--and it's due tomorrow. Luckily, Leyner's dad is about to survive execution by lethal injection (years of PCP use and low gamma ray tolerance have built up his resistance to FDA-approved toxins), qualifying him for the innovative, Damoclean ""New Jersey State Discretionary Execution"" program, and the warden (""an absolutely stunning woman in a decollete evening gown"") seems to be responding positively to young Leyner's sexual overtures. Clearly, there's a story in here somewhere, and Leyner milks it for all it's worth. Leyner the character's marketing skills prop up a brutal South Seas dictator (""It's Heart of Darkness, and Mark is Kurtz. But it's Kurtz as Maurice Saatchi""); Leyner pere and fils crank out a few dozen popular novels under such noms de plume as Donna Tartt, Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace and A.M. Homes. By novel's end, the indefatigable idol of disaffected culture workers everywhere has given us a new TV show (""America's Funniest Violations of Psychiatrist/Patient Confidentiality""), an ""achingly beautiful"" three-hour cunnilingus scene and the rock 'n' roll apotheosis of crossover Bougainvillean tetherball star Offramp Tavanipupu. And these are just the highlights. Leyner is one of our most talented comic writers. In his ""first 100% BONA FIDE NOVEL--story, characters, everything!"" he is at his horny, hip, encyclopedic best. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-679-76349-9
Open Ebook - 196 pages - 978-0-307-76603-8
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