Wales' Work

Robert Walshe, Author Ticknor & Fields $16.95 (276p) ISBN 978-0-89919-430-1
The publishing industry becomes a microcosm for the world at large in this catchall, Shandyesque first novel that palls yawningly almost as soon as it begins. The house of Wales had done well with its truncated biographies (lots of white space), Greekless dictionary, and ""toilet-paper press'' Bible, printed as a scroll on a stick. Now Robert Racine, an editor with a ``bardic tic,'' must write the life of his defunct employer, tycoon Wallace Wales, who unaccountably keeps turning up as a living corpse. Racine follows clues left inside a trail of matrioshkasRussian nested wooden dolls that unscrew to reveal ever smaller dolls insideand mails his findings in 20 envelopes to friend Horace. The text is clotted with bibliomanic nuggets, etymologies, footnotes, fanciful orthographies, and self-congratulatory punning. Racine discourses on blockbusters and writer's block, deplores bestsellers and discovers a plagiary of his own verses, Tragicommas and Tragicomas. Near the end are serious musings about the place of literature in ``a world of terror and torture'' and the godlike abuses of power by irresponsible publishers. January
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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