The funny man is a middling comic in an unnamed city. By day he takes care of his infant son, by night he performs in small clubs, sandwiched between other aspiring comics. His wife waits tables to support the family. It doesnât sound like much, but theyâre happy, more or less. Until the day he comes up with it. His thing. His gimmick. And everything changes. Heâs a headliner, and the venues get bigger fast. Pretty soon itâs Hollywood and a starring role in a blockbuster, all thanks to the gimmick.
Which is: He performs with his fist in his mouth to the wrist. Jokes, impressions, commercialsâall with his fist in his mouth to the wrist. The people want himâare crazy for himâbut only with his fist in his mouth.
And the funny man, he is tired of having his fist in his mouth.
Thus, as the novel begins, his careerâs in tatters, his familyâs left him, and heâs on trial for shooting an unarmed man six times. But for the second time in his life, against all odds, heâs found love. This time with another celebrity, who may or may not be sending him coded messages, and may or may not be equally in loveâor even know he exists. A coruscating satire of our culture of celebrity, this debut novel documents one individualâs slide from everyman to monster, even as it reveals the potential for graceâand mercyâin his life.
From the Hardcover edition.