Friday, September 16, 2011

Chipchase and Maltravers

At the National Book Critics Circle blog, the one and only Damion Searls not only said nice things about Personal Days, but mentioned it in the same breath as a book by one of my heroes, Anthony Powell. The question: What's your favorite comic novel? (Over to you, D.S.)

Can I name two? Anthony (Dance to the Music of Time) Powell's little-known third novel, Agents and Patients, is hilarious: rogue Freudian screenwriter-adventurers Chipchase and Maltravers try to take dim, well-intentioned, wealthy Blore-Smith of everything he's got. Somebody get this book back into print!

But only humor of your own moment can touch you to the core. The funniest book I've read from the past ten less-than-hilarious years--both deeply moving and literally-laugh-out-loud-in-public funny--is Ed Park's Personal Days, an office dystopia fizzing with formal and verbal energy.