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  • By William Manchester
    Dec 10, 2010
    First of all, I do read(and have periodically reviewed over the years)comedic novels. Comedy is tough! Comedy, like no other genre ,is completely subjective and at its core has literally no choice but to accept that one fact. Namely that what's funny to some? It might not be funny at all to others. Given that, what good comedy can't be is wishy-washy, afraid to offend or hopeful it'll please everybody. Kelliher either understands that implicitly or he's got a screw loose somewhere, but either way I'm glad to have run into him this way. This was a ballsy outing for a new author and "The Nimrod" is a howl! One thing is certain, Kelliher could have made this much easier for himself simply by creating a less abrasive central character than Gary Sloane. But it wouldn't have worked anywhere near as well. The language and the situations might turn some away too soon and that's going to be to their loss simply because there's a lot of big laughs in here as well as a great core story... More > once you settle in. Here's the rub. In The Nimrod, Gary Sloane (a barely employed, Cape Cod landscaper) is the nexus of the story and if he works, the whole wild roller-coaster ride of "The Nimrod" does too. Subsequently the author spends a lot of time in the beginning establishing this foreign oddball and his peculiarities and prismatic world-view with us so that we can see we're not in our world anymore. Like not at all. Instead we're in Gary's hometown of Puzzleville, Cape Cod where they serve $5 lobster specials at strip clubs and the population isn't exactly what the Chamber of Commerce is telling tourists about. A dark Cape Cod ,where people like Gary invent drinks like the "Acapulco Astronaut" (Tang & tequila? Bleck!) only to believe they've found a true aphrodisiac. To me this whole thing works perfectly, establishing Gary as a truly original character that you simply don't read everyday. Sure, he's offensive! He's got gutter-mouth, he drinks too much, he's a lot smarter than what you'd expect from someone in his situation as a landscaper on Cape Cod and he's the polar opposite of politically correct. Worse, Gary's developed a warped sense of self through a number of devices not the least of which is a jalopy old truck that has him listening to Rush Limbaugh all day. On top of that, the author puts us in wildly uncomfortable situations with Gary, taking us inside his head even, where boredom and possibly inner guilt have divided his mind off into three factions : The Worker, The Boss, and apparently genuine Gary. We don't have to guess if this guy is conflicted, we hear it. Better still, half of what Gary thinks is original, rational, interesting and even at times insightful and brilliant. Then he goes off and does some other stupid thing to make you wonder. It's a bit of a Job's Lot scenario - if a box fell off a cargo plane, it would surely hit Gary in the head. Gary's in his early 30's & still lives at home with his Aunt Muriel who in the context of this book is a sort of live-in, familial, comedic straight-woman. The interplay between these two characters is some of the best in the book and I can honestly say I just laughed again thinking back to a scene where Muriel drives Gary to the airport before sunrise and informs him what her less than admirable plans for his future are. In case after case, Gary is a compliant bystander in his own life. While his troubles are monumental, there's a bit of that "now what?"feeling in everyone and as a result, despite his numerous shortcomings, you really do hope that somehow the author is going to have some mercy on Gary Sloane. Mark Kelliher is a master of the surreal comedic situation. It's enough information in a review to say that there are characters named Midnight Run Benson (whose wife is Native American, but got his nickname stealing TV sets), a sort of nemesis nicknamed Low Tide, a childhood flame named after a Bob Marley album, bumbling cops, mind readers, foreign cab drivers, a Mafia bartender, Hollywood movie people and the inventively original inclusion of a teenage girl named Cricket. If all of that sounds crazy, then good. It is! It's a delicious gumbo of craziness. And THIS is where Kelliher shocks the hell out of us. You think, you think, you think this is just a bunch of hysterical stuff all strung together. It is. And it isn't. You'll probably read this twice. I'm going to leave it at that. A wonderful effort from a fresh new voice, The Nimrod is well worth the read! I suspect this is an author I'll be keeping an eye out for in the future.< Less
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Product Details

First edition
December 8, 2010
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
1.41 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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