A footnote on The Sugar Frosted Nutsack by Mark Leyner

Despite my misgivings, I plowed ahead and finished The Sugar Frosted Nutsack by Mark Leyner.  My original appraisal was unchanged. I felt it was infantile, too enamored with its own cleverness, and pointless. It wasn’t a pleasant read–the effort in no way equaled the payoff.

However, I did notice something that I hadn’t before.  I was proofreading what I had written last week about the novel on a different platform. The tablet had shrunk the margins so that the text ran narrow like a newspaper column.  I had originally quoted this text:

“What subculture is evinced by Ike‘s clothes and his shtick, by the non-Semitic contours of his nose and his dick, by the feral fatalism of all his looney tics–like the petit-mal fluttering of his long-lashed lids and the Mussolini torticollis of his Schick-nicked neck, and the staring and the glaring and the daring and the hectoring, and the tapping on the table with his aluminum wedding ring, as he hums those tunes from his childhood albums and, after a spasm of Keith Moon air-drums, returns to his lewd mandala of Italian breadcrumbs?

But in the “newspaper column” format the passage ran quite poetically like this:

“What subculture is evinced by Ike‘s clothes and his shtick,
by the non-Semitic contours of his nose and his dick,
by the feral fatalism of all his looney tics–
like the petit-mal fluttering of his long-lashed lids
and the Mussolini torticollis of his Schick-nicked neck,
and the staring and the glaring and the daring
and the hectoring, and the tapping on the table
with his aluminum wedding ring, as he hums
those tunes from his childhood albums
and, after a spasm of Keith Moon air-drums,
returns to his lewd mandala of Italian breadcrumbs?

There is a rhyme scheme to the passage, a rhythm that I had missed when reading the prose. I went through the novel for similar riffs and they are a few but they are there for no intrinsic reason–they seem to occur only when Leyner is in a rhythm himself, apart from the needs or function of the novel.

It was fun to discover but it didn’t change my opinion.

 

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