James McConkey, Author Dutton Books $16.95 (206p) ISBN 978-0-525-24505-6
In his latest novel, critic and literature professor McConkey (The Tree House Confessions creates a certain Professor ""M'' who receives messages on his personal computer in which otherworldly novelist Sancho describes the life of ex-literature professor Nod. Needless to say, this is a very academic satire, with a Wild West version of Don Quixote being rewritten as Pale Fire while focusing on the sort of politics found in Being There. In this ``other'' world, the last few presidents have all been one man (repeatedly remade by plastic surgery) who starts wars at the behest of soda barons in search of new markets. Their version of Star Wars is a giant bell jar to protect the country from enemy missiles. Throw in digressive footnotes, endless cultural cross-references, a defensive introduction and an argumentative afterword, the obligatory unreliable narrator, weighty puns (e.g., federal police chief P. Eureka! Electrolux) and you have a treat for grad studentsbut very few others. (March 30)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1987
Release date: 03/01/1987
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