Once upon a time that doesn't make a blind bit of sense, in a place that seems awfully familiar but definitely doesn't exist, Willem Seiler's obsession with measuring his world--with wrapping it up in his beloved string to keep the madness out--wreaks havoc on the Wakeling family.
If you read Finnegans Wake for the off-color puns; if you take to Flann O’Brien’s satirical novels as happily as a pup going for a morning walk; if, like Aunt Ada Doom in Stella Gibbons’s Cold Comfort Farm, you suspect you saw something nasty in the woodshed; if, like J.P. Donleavy, you’d like to decompose when you die in a barrel of porter and have it served in all the pubs of Dublin; if you sometimes wish you were an extra in John Gay’s raucous The Beggar’s Opera, then Guillermo Stitch’s new novel, Lake of Urine, is for you ... Admittedly, that’s a lot of ifs. Can’t I also have, one might ask, characters I can identify with, a tendon of plot and the consoling sense that I’m a moral and high-minded person? Not here, no. Lake of Urine offers instead strange harbingers, offbeat mental exfoliations, subterranean impulses, verbal ambuscades and warty, warty manifestations of joy, wit and lust ... Stitch has more fun than a writer should be allowed to have ... Nothing about Lake of Urine seems forced ... Stitch flicks his blade around all the important things in life, isolating absurdities, nicking arteries. He deflates pretension at every turn. He throws images like tarot cards. He’s a caustic humorist with serious intent. His novel invites you to view the world as fundamentally absurd and usually awful, but also to recognize that laughter is a mighty, and cleansing, recompense ... As if made for our moment, Lake of Urine imparts a sense of old ways collapsing, and of men and women adjusting to brute new realities.
... most unusual ... absolutely savage ... both a quasi-fantasy work and a biting satire. Despite its unfortunate title, Lake of Urine is absurdly funny, a merciless mockery of all our sacred cows (most especially our cash cows) and it pokes endless fun at our basic human need; to feel important, at least to one person, but preferably to more than one ... The author delights in wrongfooting the reader as the plot shifts shapes (and time) and we reel from one delicious scene to another. If that sounds a little chaotic, then the chaos is strictly in the comedy. The novel itself is as tight as a fist ... An audacious love story as well as all the other things it is, Lake of Urine thumbs its nose at any attempt to describe it coherently, but this is part of its maddening charm. The reader is simply immersed in a series of outrageous pastiches, and, as the drama reaches fever pitch, it is then boiled down to its essence: that so much of the meaning we attach to our lives is meaningless.
... one of the strangest novels of the year ... At the centre of this bawdy, absurdist farce is a sardonic portrait of ambivalent motherhood ... Judged by the morally fastidious standards of contemporary fiction, the novel’s comic sensibility is somewhat off-colour, finding its mirth in child manslaughter, parental neglect, canine defenestration and the antics of a psychologically damaged 'strumpet'. Readers may well wonder whether there is a satirical subtext to the throwback prose style and slightly dated repartee. There isn’t: Lake of Urine is a jeu d’esprit, best enjoyed on its own deranged terms. And it is genuinely funny, with nuggets of surreal whimsy on almost every page.