Grove. Jan. 2018. 624p. ISBN 9780802125378. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780802189394. F
OrangeReviewStarFew John Updike fans would enjoy Self's splintered, swirling narratives. Yet drug-addled psychiatrist Zach Busner, a recurring character in Self's fiction, is startlingly similar to Updike's Rabbit Angstrom in his inability to process new forms of eroticism and spirituality as the stability of a world founded in modernist principles crumbles around him. Here, in the final book of the trilogy begun with Umbrella and Shark, Self probes the absurdity of the information age through two seemingly disparate narratives: the trials and tribulations of a wayward spy engaged in an affair with a tank commander, and the struggle of Zach's family to provide for him as he ages. Set against the backdrop of the Second Gulf War, Self's story lines are folded into a meditation on the meaning of a "double life" in a technology-soaked era. Bewildered by a world of spiritual decay and hyperconnectedness, Zach (like Rabbit) ultimately runs from himself.
VERDICT The narrative reads and feels like an endless data stream, underscoring Self's deliberate attempt to bury the reader in an avalanche of information. A sardonic end to Self's modernist trilogy.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing