Mark Leyner: Et Tu, Babe
This is a genuine novel, unlike My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist, which probably wasn’t, but it is still, well, different. It is about a superstar writer, called Mark Leyner. He gives us a biography, some of which is true and much of which is not. Some is set in the future. Much is hyperbole – Today I am the most intense, and in a certain sense, the most significant young prose writer in America, he states, only slightly exaggerating Larry McCaffery’s comment that Mark Leyner [is] the most intense, and, in a certain sense, the most significant young prose writer in America, though it is probably doubtful that he was praised by Harold Pinter or assisted Stephen Hawking, as he claims. It is a massive send-up of celebrity culture. Beautiful women fawn after him including his lovely (real) wife, Arleen Portada. Arnold Schwarzenegger is ubiquitous, appearing in every movie, thanks to computer technology. But it all goes to Mark Leyner’s head, as he kidnaps writing students that may be a threat to him and steals Lincoln’s breath and, before long, the Federal Punitive Confiscation Tactical Division is after him. It is a wild ride – witty, incredibly inventive, often outrageous, – but one you cannot help but enjoy.
First published 1992 by Harmony Books