cover image The Sum of His Syndromes

The Sum of His Syndromes

K. B. Dixon. Academy Chicago Publishers, $15.95 (126pp) ISBN 978-0-89733-586-7

This uninspired short novel presents itself as a collection of notes scrawled in an office men's room. ""Is art a business? If so, how much is it a business like any other?"" Another: ""One thing I can tell you for sure: I'm nobody's first choice."" As thought-provoking as these might be, the reader is rarely allowed time for contemplation. The narrator is a man weighed down by a vague sense that he was meant for better things (""The real trouble begins when you can't, in your own mind, turn your suffering into something heroic-when it is simply suffering and not the price you have to pay for some plucky act of witness."") He shares concerns about his shrink, his girlfriend and the possibility of a new job, but any fruitful development is sidetracked by one-liners about office life and co-workers that zing only occasionally. It seems the narrator's focus on such distractions is to demonstrate just how alienated he is from his own existence, but the point becomes belabored after nine chapters and hundreds of subsections.