Monday, September 14, 2009

The Mayor's Tongue by Nathaniel Rich

I was first drawn to this book by its typographically insane cover (the tongue made of various !! and AAA and 000 is pretty great) and the comparisons to Paul Auster and Thomas Pynchon. As for the reality...I'd say not exactly on a par with those authors but pretty strong nonetheless, especially for a first novel.

The novel consists of two storylines, one following the young devotee of the reclusive author Constance Eakins, who is thought to be residing in Italy, and the other following an old man whose wife is dying; confused and terrified, he longs to confide in his friend Rutherford. But Rutherford has disappeared, and his letters, postmarked from Italy, become more and more ominous as the weeks pass. Both men’s adventures take them from New York City to northern Italy, where the line between imagination and reality begins to blur.

Upon opening the book I was pleasantly surprised to see that the crazy typography from the cover continues onto the title page,

and even onto the usually boring copyright and dedication pages.

Each chapter begins like this, with the first few lines indented to form a slant.

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