“Wild as sin and as exceptional as the lower reaches of insanity itself.”—Norman Mailer
“One of the most perverse satires I’ve ever read.”—Jonathan Lethem
“[A] Vonnegut-worthy satire.” —Joshua Glenn, Boston Globe
“A postmodern examination of the self that teases the very idea of postmodernism… that rare bit of lampoonery that is both humorous and smart.” —Tod Goldberg, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Half DeLillo’s Jack Gladney, professor of Hitler studies at College-on-the-Hill, and half Christopher Hitchens, Linchak is a model pundit for a post-9/11 age: death-obsessed, long-winded, addicted to Googling himself, and, on the sly, an inveterate nose-picker. Crust is about mindless compulsion, or the digital search for oblivion, or a comment on the jaded habits of a citizenry that’s had its private domain annexed by omnipotent admen.” —Zach Baron, Village Voice
The epigraph for this uproarious novel is from Marcel Duchamp: “Everything that man handles has a tendency to secrete meaning.” In this case, the secretion begins as a crust in the nose of famed novelist Walker Linchak. Its extraction leads to further secretion in the form of intellectual and spiritual insight into “the habit once called nose-picking”; a book, The Complete Book of Nasalism, a memoir about his breakthrough; an endless succession of blog entries; and a constant rush of e-mail exchanges with friends like George W. Bush, who is moved by Linchak’s passion for the habit to confess his own onLarry King Live.
Joining the stream of nose-picking research and literature that already exists on the Internet, Linchak’s secretion generates more of the same in books, the visual arts, all forms of media, academic scholarship, and medical and scientific research on crusts and their extraction.
Crust is the book that Swift would produce if he took on Information Glut.
Lawrence Shainberg is the author of two novels—One on Oneand Memories of Amnesia—and the nonfiction books Brain Surgeon: An Intimate View of His World and Ambivalent Zen. His fiction and journalism have appeared in Esquire, Harper’s Magazine, Tricycle, and The New York Times Magazine. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for a monograph on Samuel Beckett, published in The Paris Review.