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April 05, 1990 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-05

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 5, 1990 - Page 9

Gone with the


Mark Leyner creates literature of the absurd
by Carolyn Pajor

gather the 10,000 americans in ir-
reversible comas and book them
into rooms at the sheraton center
in midtown when clouds in the
night sky resemble the x-ray of
christ's cheekbone shattered by
the split-fingered fastball of the
devil the exact date of the atomic
armageddon will be written in the
cursive script of hairs on a bar of
With the Mind," by Mark Leyner
I would not want to psychoana-
lyze Mark Leyner. His latesthnovel,
My Cousin, My Gastroenterolo-
Sgist, is touted on the back cover as
a "postmodern Odyssey, with char-
acters who travel through strange
lands made out of fragments of the
familiar." Douglas Adams, meet
William F. Buckley, Jr. Leyner is.
a sesquipidalian, cyberpunk James
Joyce with an excremental vision.
*His first nameless character is an
"infinitely hot, dense dot" who
picks up his monozygotic replicant
in a bar with the shmoozy, "We're
all larval psychotics and have been
since the age of two..." Her reply?

"You have the glibness,;
ciality, shallowness, lack

of guilt

of Irish or Greek neighborhoods,
"there were anorexic neighbor-
hoods, manic and compulsive
neighborhoods..." Here is a place
where cocktails evaporateato the
ceiling, condense and drizzle back
down into the highball glass. For-
tune cookies read, "You will de-
velop a pilonial cyst." Shnauzers
get pulvarized by buttock-shaped
seat-testing machines used by air-
lines. And here one can meet Bev,
a speech pathologist, and her pa-
tient, Bob, who has a type of spon-
taneous aphasia and can only speak
in stacatto, telegraphic style. Here
is Bob driving through a Midwest-
ern Interstate: "Corn corn corn corn
My Cousin, My Gastroen-
terologist is a fast and slick
glimpse of the world through Mark
Leyner's futuristic, frothing eyes.
The 21st-century hallucination
harkens back to the absurdity of
life today. Stream of consciousness
has never been so magnetic.
MARK LEYNER will be reading at
the Le Minotaure Gallery, 115 E.
Ann, tonight at 7:30 p.m. Admis-
sion is free.

Continued from page 8
name changes, from Big Politics to
Friend to the Poor and even Unti-
tled. Unfortunately, Harding's glar-
ing indecision comes through loud
and clear on Hear Comes the
Groom. The music, for the most
part, is well-written and brilliantly
performed. The fact remains, how-
ever, that lyrically, Harding really
has very little to say.
From the outset, Wes sets the
pace with the title cut and "Cathy's
New Clown," providing a bebop
sound of old with piano, guitar and a
lively drum beat. Even so, the re-
mainder of the album offers only re-
vamped versions of these core tunes,
and the listener is left with very lit-
tle once the instruments become
Harding does find limited success
with a few selections such as the
simple, uplifting "When the Sun
Comes Out" and "Nothing I'd Rather
Do," which has a memorable chorus.
Notably, on these cuts Harding em-
ploys Joel Peskin, Dave Boruff and
Bob Payne a.k.a. The Dalai Lama
Horns. The strong brass section
helps Harding loosen up and "do his
stuff" vocally, which works in his
There's no doubt that Harding is
still at the experimental stage, and
he attempts a number of diverse
songs on the album, but the fact that
he's managed to write and record 15

tracks is overshadowed by many
misplaced metaphors and confused
chord progressions. Simply put,
Harding fails to make up in quantity
what he lacks in quality. "Red Rose
and The Briar," an acoustic selection,
seems to labor on indefinitely and
"Things Snowball" sounds almost
like a tribute to Bob Dylan, proving
that the only artist who can get away
with sounding like Dylan is Dylan
himself (OK, and maybe -Tom Petty
on a good day).
All in all, one- can hardly call
Harding's musical ability into ques-
tion, for the talent is there, and as
soon as Harding finds his niche he's
sure to find an audience willing to
-Scott Kirkwood

For close to one
hundred years, the
Michigan Daily has
been consistently rated
the top daily campus
newspaper in Ann
Arbor. Join a winning
team. Meetings for
News, Arts, Sports,
and Opinion staff
every Sunday at 1 p.m.

Mark Leyner

The Residential College Players
are currently accepting proposals
from students interested in directing
productions next fall. Applications
are available on the RC Players
bulletin board (outside the East Quad
auditorium). For more information
call David at 747-6423.
Auditions and Opportunities
runs occasionally in Daily Arts. If
you need performers, stage help or
anything else for your production,
bring any relevant information to
Alyssa or Kristin on the second
floor of the Student Publications
building, 420 Maynard Street.

and realistic long-term plans that
excite me right now..."
Leyner serves up pop culture
with a garish twist: his world is
one where "psychopathology re-
places ethnicity as the critical de-
mographic determinant." So instead

Save the LP"
. Daily Arts



Read Gotta Love It Daily Sports





What's A Man To Do When
He's Old, Rich And Bored?
Marry A Twenty-Year-Old.

By Gaetano Donizetti School of Music Opera Theatre
Sung in Italian, with English supertitles University Symphony Orchestra

Condgcted by Martin Katz
Production by Travis Preston
,Tickets: $10 and $7
Student seating $5 with ID

Mendelssohn Theatre
Apr 5- 7 at 8 pm; Apr 8 at 2 pm
The League Ticket Office
Call: 764-0450 or 763-TKTS


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Boston, MA 02215

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individualized placements for virtually every
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