A man whose wife has recently passed away becomes more and more unhinged, refusing to see things in anything but their most literal form. He is given a reality television show where he travels around America asking people invasive questions.
Currie has been likened to Swift and Vonnegut, among other revered satirists. No doubt, the timeliness of this sendup will appeal to readers suffering from the whiplash of our new administration, especially those who prefer vibrant prose to boastful tweets. Yet there’s more here than meets the eye. Hijinks and parody aside, Currie has written a tale whose backstory about the final months of K’s marriage may be even more compelling than the book’s political follies ... Currie navigates the funny-sad axis of human relations as well as anyone writing today. He writes eloquently on the complexity of marriage, conveying the gravity and humor at its core. He’s a consummate performer – engaging and generous, filled with provocative ideas and gorgeous language to express them.
...[a] dark, tender and oh-so-timely novel ... When the story approaches what seems to be a cataclysmic conclusion, K takes the measure of TV news and the current state of affairs: 'It may be true that there was a time in America when journalists sought clarity of circumstance and certainty of fact,; he says, 'but now, as I listened to speculation after speculation, each one more baseless than the last, I realized that the bread and butter of the modern newsman was opacity. When one has an endless succession of 24-hour news cycles to fill, the fewer known facts, the better.' Something most Americans can agree on.
In these latter days of 'alternative facts,' the idea of someone fearlessly dedicated to total, literal honesty sounds awfully appealing. I only wish I could say that this absurd story feels more subtle in execution than in summary. Alas, the plotting is sketchy, the social satire clunky. K.’s Socratic assault on the illogical, racist and shortsighted beliefs of his fellow citizens raises not a single surprisingly or truly provocative moment ... [Currie] knows what surprising havoc the persistence of grief can wreak on the heart. He doesn’t need a gimmicky plot premise; human life is strange and existential enough.