Mark Leyner is a “postmodern” American author known for employing an unconventional writing style in his works of fiction. He is most well-known for The Tetherballs of Bougainville. Leyner has worked for Esquire, George, and is also a writer for MTV. He is also known for being critiqued in David Foster Wallace’s essay, “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction.”
Just. Plain. Weird.
While I have never been high on marijuana, I imagine the drug-induced feeling resembles The Sugar Frosted Nutsack. The book reads like Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, had a literary baby with a run-on-sentence. The Sugar Frosted Nutsack is most likely the weirdest novel I’ve ever read. But, in the interest of a longer review, I’ll try to recount the “plot” of the novel for your convenience. If anything, the novel is a tale of the gods.
The gods and goddesses of the world reside among the bustling metropolis of Dubai. These gods emerged 14 billion years ago from a bus, after a spring break party.
“During the Belle Époque—that period of time, about fourteen billion years ago, after the Gods were delivered by bus from some sort of ‘Spring Break’ during which they are said to have ‘gone wild’—the Gods put things in order, made them comprehensible, provided context, imposed coherence of meaning, i.e., they created the world as we know it today” (26).
|Photo by Doug Focht|
“The God of Head Trauma (who was also, of course, the God of Concussions, the God of Dementia, the God of Alcoholic Blackouts, the God of Brainwashing, Implanted Thoughts, and Cultural Amnesia) was called El Cucho (‘The Old Man’). This was a facetious epithet because El Cucho had a lustrously youthful appearance—a million-watt smile and a streaming surfer-boy mane of blond hair. He wore a tiger-skin loincloth. In the eternal schism between El Brazo and La Felina on one side versus Mogul Magoo and his snake-headed Pistoleras on the other, El Cucho (who as also known as ‘Kid Coma’ and ‘XOXO’) was firmly in the El Brazo / La Felina camp. XOXO liked sitting around with circus performers and hockey players and boxers and plying them with drugged sherbet. He liked to mess with people’s minds—to make them forget things or put alien ideas in their heads. (Year after year, he was consistently voted both ‘Most Sadistic’ and ‘Friendliest’ God by his peers!)” (17).
Ike the Butcher
|Photo by Thomas Hawk|
“Ike’s a Taurus and an autodidact, and his diction tends to be Victorian, actually (think Matthew Arnold and Thomas Hardy). The ‘real’ Ike is such a sweetheart, such a pussycat in a way…although he’s capable of unprovoked spasms of explosive violence where you’re like:
I cannot believe
He just did that” (46).
Ike is a borderline anti-Semite, and a favorite of the goddess La Felina (the usually stoned goddess of humility) whose refrain for him is “Ike Always Keeps It Simple and Sexy”. The gods recount the tale of how Ike seduces La Felina and also eventually commits suicide by being killed by a police officer.
The book is extremely complicated, and doesn’t have a strong sense of plot or character development. With run-on sentences, random bolded and italicized words, and neo-mythology the book is original, to say the least. At the same time, I feel like original isn’t a good enough word. Try The Sugar Frosted Nutsack if you dare—you may like it, and you may not, just be prepared for complete weirdness.
Verdict: 2 out of 5
Posted by: Andrew Jacobson