cover image Dogma


Lars Iyer. Melville (Random, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (224) ISBN 978-1-61219-046-4

Iyer's sequel to Spurious (and the second in an as-yet-incomplete trilogy) can best be labeled a "philosopher's novel," insofar as it suffers from many of the shortcomings that generally turn readers off philosophical literature: it's abstract and dry. The novel relates the travels of two British academics as they pass through American cities on a lecture tour. The narrator, Lars, has been invited to travel alongside W., who is professionally engaged in waxing Marxian about matters too clich%C3%A9 to be convincing: "Capitalism is the evil twin of true religion, said W....And money is the false God we worship." W. and Lars chat amongst themselves while the specter of some kind of perceived cultural apocalypse%E2%80%94which Lars dubs "The Age of Shit"%E2%80%94looms on the horizon. There are moments of insight and humor scattered throughout, but in the end the novel collapses into abstraction and it's hard to tell Lars and W. apart. Both narrator and protagonist lack meaningful physical attributes%E2%80%94they're merely thoughts. (Feb.)