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Mark Leyner: My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist

Is it a novel or is it seventeen interconnected short stories? David Foster Wallace, in his seminal essay E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction, called it the biggest thing for campus hipsters since The Fountainhead, which was obviously not meant as a compliment. But Wallace might have taken it all too seriously. This is literature for the MTV generation, hip, cool, full of pop culture references, short attention span sentences, seemingly arbitrary references and interjections, pithy sayings, images, above all, images, and reference to gastroenterology. Leyner flips casually from fake newspaper headlines to science fiction/cyberpunk references to the music and TV of the day to… well, it is not always clear what is going on but that does not matter, as you are not meant to look for plot or meaning, any more than you are when you watch an MTV video. At times it is witty. At times it is silly. At times it conjures up fascinating images. And, at times, you have an idea of what is going on. But sorry, David, it is lots better than The Fountainhead. But then anything is.

Publishing history

First published 1990 by Harmony Books