Tuesday, February 17, 2004


Tibor Fischer is having a gender identity crisis. I'm not sure how many pages I turned while reading Voyage to the End of the Room before realizing that the narrator is a female incarnation of the infamous Hungaro-British writer best known for his little problem of Amis-envy. And once I accepted that the narrator was a woman and not a sharp-witted albeit reclusive literary type who also happens to be a man, as well as an esteemed graduate of the Will Self School of Syntactic Acrobatics [syntacrobat for short], I still had to remind myself at least once per page that said narrator was a she and not a he.

Not that this matters all that much. The prose was still pretty snappy, and there were more than a few instances that made me put the book down and ask myself, why couldn't I have thought of that?

But then the other major character of the book begins to appear more frequently, and surprise surprise, it's a man that sounds an awful lot like Tibor Fischer might sound if he had written a memoir instead of a novel. The prose is still snappy, albeit marginally less so, and the story takes a turn for the momentarily incomprehensible, followed by the momentarily annoying, and finally just comes across as more than marginally boring. The story ends none too soon, but also much too soon, as the manner in which Fischer wraps things up is much too hasty and not really credible. He must have been in a hurry to finish it so that he could start writing the review whose real purpose was to tell the literary world that his book was to be released on the same day as that other guy whose nth novel was comparably bad, like not-knowing-where-to-look bad, to Tibor's (n - 1)th novel, nameably Voyage to the End of the Park Where Your Uncle Likes to Masturbate.

But on the whole, I quite enjoyed it. Will be anticipating the next Fischer with much eagerness, and also keeping my fingers crossed that it's a collection of essays.

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