A Short Film About Disappointment

Joshua Mattson. Penguin Press, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-525-52284-3
A movie critic certain no one reads his reviews fills them with details of his personal life in this sharp, funny debut set in America’s Central Hub some time in the future. Narrating reviews (there are 80 in total) instead of chapters, Noah Body begins with a critique of Having, Not Having, Being, Not Being, a film he sees while hiding in a theater from a man he has angered. Noah’s strong opinions and acerbic humor, though entertaining to the reader, undermine his own personal relationships, including the burgeoning romance with a doctor he consults because he believes himself possessed by his ex–best friend. Noah also dreams about writing, directing, and starring in his own movie. Contemporary cinema still features vampires, monsters, heists, crime family melodramas, and historical dramas such as Unsurfable, which depicts how most of the world’s data and wealth were erased. Noah envisions his own film in the Renaissance and sets about trying to get it actually made. With weapons-grade wit, Mattson satirizes movies, reviewers, and life in the data age. Even the almost-touching scene when robotic AlmostPerson Lawrence observes a sunset ends in edgy irony. Mattson’s exhilarating novel is rife with ingenious humor and inventiveness. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/04/2018
Release date: 08/07/2018

Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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