Cranial Fracking

Ian Frazier. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25 (192p) ISBN 978-0-374-60307-6
Longtime New Yorker contributor and humorist Frazier (Lamentations of the Father) bounces between the acerbic and the gently humorous in this uneven but fun collection of satiric miscellany. In “Once and Future Prince,” Frazier turns an anodyne ABC News item into a playful rumination on the Prince music that could be released post-2025 (“Raspberry Hazmat Beret,” perhaps), and “In My Defense” fashions an Associated Press report on the Boy Scouts’ new scout leader requirements into a concise and incisive essay about heresy. Frazier is at his best when firing shots at the ultra-wealthy and well-connected, or the ridiculous state of funding and fellowships that support the arts, delivering insightful essays that have plenty of bite. Some pieces, though, have had their comedic edge dulled by time, as with “The Temperature of Hell: A Colloquium,” from 2009, in which Frazier imagines Al Gore giving an Inconvenient Truth–esque PowerPoint presentation to the denizens of hell. But even the more meandering entries (“Dracula is Off the Case,” for example, which imagines Dracula as a brash New York City detective) are still entertaining. Frazier’s fans will be delighted, even if there are a few duds in the mix. Agent: Jin Auh, the Wylie Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 05/10/2021
Release date: 09/07/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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