cover image Be Brief and Tell Them Everything

Be Brief and Tell Them Everything

Brad Listi. Ig, $16.99 trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-1-63246-136-0

Listi (Attention. Deficit. Disorder) returns with an affecting work of autofiction about a 40-something podcast host named Brad Listi who is struggling to write his next book. Brad is married to Franny, with whom he’s suffered through five miscarriages, and is the loving father of precocious elementary school–age daughter Alice, who asks, “How big is the smallest mountain?” and younger son Oscar, who’s been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. During sojourns to his garage, and while dealing with his angst over climate change, his loss of faith, and financial insecurity, he tries to get down his feelings about his family with integrity and compassion. In a meta moment, he writes how the book “started out as a novel and then it became a different novel and... then it was an essay collection and it was nothing for a while and then it was a memoir and then it became a novel again and now it’s whatever this is.” There’s no plot to speak of, but the writing is funny and honest, and includes some brilliant descriptions of Los Angeles, where everybody’s “always telling everybody else how fucking busy they are. It’s so exhausting.” Listi has found his stride and climbed his smallest mountain in this engaging and moving chronicle of melancholia and joy. This pulses with life. (May)