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Wade Rubenstein, "The Annoying Radio"

Wade Rubenstein (whose debut novel Gullboy just crossed my radar over the weekend) has a very funny story, "The Annoying Radio", at Contrary Magazine. Rubenstein conjures up a wonderful bizarro world in which a literature-obsessed Andy Roddick and a forlorn Mandy Moore check into the Chelsea Hotel so Roddick can wallow in the writerly aura, and the radio station WBUK ("The Book") plays--seemingly non-stop--a show co-hosted by Dale Peck and James Wood, who endlessly banter in locker-room, sports-talk-radio mode.

   “I'm good to go, Jim. You know, I haven't been to the Yaddo thing myself, but I've heard they warn you to pack light – laptop and a smile. That sort of thing. Y'ever go?”
   “Can't say that I have, Hatch. You know I'm a married man. The draw would have to be somethin' special. Bring back Henry James and I'll go. Jayne Anne Phillips and Elwood Reid ain't no Henry James, not by any stretch.”
   “Elwood Reid? No kidding. I could've sworn he lived in the Catskills. He's already in the woods. What's he doing at Yaddo?”
   “Jane Anne Phillips, maybe,” said Jim, laughing.
   “Please. Pabst Blue Ribbon is probably more like it. And, whadda yuh know, Moody and Franzen – the wonder twins – no-shows at Yaddo this go-round. Too busy counting their royalties or what there, Jimmy?”
   “Hard to see hysterical-realism playing well in the woods. Talking turds. Sticky garters. Where's the grace in that, Hatch? I mean, God and nature aren't even part of the question. And Moody –”
   “Don't get me started on him. Please, Jim. You know better.”

October 10, 2005 in Books | Permalink