I wrote a part-review of Mel Nicolai’s ‘The Case’ which I thought was wittily appropriate for a book that was being released in part-work format on the SpeakWithoutInterruption site: http://www.speakwithoutinterruption.com/site/2009/04/mel-nicolais-t...
. Mel then sent me the entire book so I feel impelled to write an entire review.
I didn’t know where I was in the book first time around because I did not know how many chapters there were altogether. As it turned out, I was about 60% in when I published the review.
I believed at the time that the book was extraordinary, and with every passing day it re-stakes its claim as a masterpiece.
In fact, I will go further. I think that it may well be the only book in my life I have ever read twice, except The Bible and Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ (well, they are best-sellers).
Probably like many of you, I am equally allergic to talking animals and to post-modernist self-reflective irony. The talking animals are all too easy to understand (they are the voice-over artist with fur on), whereas the post-modern ironists are solipsistically eliptical just for starters.
However, Mel Nicolai’s approach is different - he is a post-ironic post-modern ironist and he has written the epitome of a post-post-modernist post-post-ironic book. While most of us search feverishly for a subject worthy of both 500 pages and the resultant discussion, Mel has searched, with considerable facility, for a topic which is devoid of any significant content whatsoever. As an ardent advocate of contrarianism, I take off both my heads and my foot to him.
It is a spellbinding, almost perfect, piece of work. Should any of my friends ever again claim that substance trumps form, I shall wave ‘The Case’ in slam-dunk rebuttal at them (it is too light to throw properly).
In fact, the only reason why I have decided to award the book only 9999 points out of ten thousand is that he devotes a few pages at the end to a tangential discussion of free will vs. determinism, which we all know is both pre-modernist and just an excuse to splice a leftover university thesis onto the end of an otherwise flawless book.
Read ‘The Case’ and weep for whatever reasons come naturally to you.