Elect H. Mouse State Judge

Nelly Reifler. FSG/Faber and Faber, $13 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-0-86547-765-0
It’s hard to know what to make of Reifler’s (See Through) strange novella, in which a fat mouse runs for state judge, flirts with a gecko, is interviewed by a fox for the local paper once he clinches the seat, and fails to learn precisely what has happened to his daughters, Margo and Susie, after they are abducted on election day. More bizarre still is the arrival of Barbie and Ken and Skipper—the Barbie and Ken and Skipper, who live awkwardly together in their pink townhouse. There, Skipper gazes at her own flat feet and bakes tray after tray of cupcakes while Barbie and Ken engage in disturbing sex acts that involve not just the scraping together of their hard, plastic bodies, but a far more elaborate ritual of taking one another’s heads and limbs out of their sockets and seeing what fits in their places—say, Ken’s arm in Barbie’s neck hole or Barbie’s leg in Ken’s arm hole—all of which makes for amusing and surprisingly graphic scenes. Even more odd is the revelation that H. Mouse’s daughters have been kidnapped by religious fanatics, members of a very tiny, esoteric cult living in the woods. Not wanting to alert the police and risk bad press, H. Mouse keep quiet, hiring Barbie and Ken to bring his daughters home. While the dialogue and emotion wax and wane with a compelling and human feel, the story itself remains too quirky to trust. Even accepting the characters for who or what they are leaves the question of the cult, which has less logical purpose here than even Skipper’s vacant stare. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/06/2013
Release date: 08/06/2013
Ebook - 112 pages - 978-0-374-71005-7
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