The Minor Outsider

Ted McDermott. One, $16 (224p) ISBN 978-0-9929182-7-9
Twenty-eight-year-old Ed has left his job as an editor in Chicago to pursue a master’s degree in creative writing in picturesque Missoula, at the University of Montana. Also, Ed has a brain tumor, which he alternately obsesses over and ignores: “The tumor was like the millions of children starving in Africa: too alarming to think about.” The connection between the tumor and the career decision seems clear but is not explicitly stated, which is part of the deadpan appeal of McDermott’s darkly funny novel. McDermott’s seemingly disaffected prose is not just a comic technique; it shrewdly reflects Ed’s mental state, his coping mechanisms. “It was February and weirdly warm and it rained and he walked across the rectangle of pavement labeled Physicians Parking Lot.” Ed falls hard for Taylor, a beautiful young classmate, and it’s a particularly dysfunctional relationship. The couple drifts into cohabitation, with predictably awkward results. Might a change of scene brighten their relationship? One can plausibly see Ed’s malaise as emblematic of the current age, or just relish McDermott’s droll observations and unique prose. This is a surprising, smart, and memorable novel. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/24/2017
Release date: 06/06/2017
Genre: Fiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-5436-2532-5
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