The Tetherballs of Bougainville

The Tetherballs of Bougainville Mark Leyner s hyperactive relentlessly vivid The Tetherballs of Bougainville stars a fictionalized year old version of himself Young Leyner who sounds just like the author the conceit is insincer

  • Title: The Tetherballs of Bougainville
  • Author: Mark Leyner
  • ISBN: 9780517701010
  • Page: 194
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Mark Leyner s hyperactive, relentlessly vivid The Tetherballs of Bougainville stars a fictionalized 13 year old version of himself Young Leyner who sounds just like the author, the conceit is insincere must watch the state of New Jersey execute his PCP addled father lose his virginity in a drunken, drugged revel with the comely warden and write a screenplay about thMark Leyner s hyperactive, relentlessly vivid The Tetherballs of Bougainville stars a fictionalized 13 year old version of himself Young Leyner who sounds just like the author, the conceit is insincere must watch the state of New Jersey execute his PCP addled father lose his virginity in a drunken, drugged revel with the comely warden and write a screenplay about these things, all within the space of a day Don t be alarmed, just turn off your left brain and keep reading The Tetherballs of Bougainville is a soup of observation, weird juxtaposition, parody, and ribaldry that will leave some people stymied, but others positively delighted The satire and sense is where you find it Here s Mark, with an aside As I browse through this astonishing array of contraband, I can t help but marvel at the ingenuity of the inmates In the Body Cavity Rectal section, for instance I can imagine someone smuggling in a wrapped shank but four 5 piece place settings of Bastille stainless steel flatware I can see how, during a visit, a girlfriend could convey, through a kiss, a condom partially filled with heroin But a 959 piece Alsatian Village Puzzle How Piece by piece, one kiss per visit per week Imagine the incarcerated hobbyist s Zen like equanimity Rich stuff, this But as disorienting as the book may be, it possesses a brutal amount of horsepower the amount of laughs it will induce excuse myriad indulgences Half novel, half screenplay, packed to the endpapers with pop culture, The Tetherballs of Bougainville is a full body experience.

    One thought on “The Tetherballs of Bougainville”

    1. Before posting this would-be review, I went back to reread B0nnie's much better and more postive review; my advice is read that one. If for some reason you have nothing better to do, mine follows:Years, and years, and years, and years ago, friends of mine and I would drive from central Illinois where I went to college (Blackburn, if you’re interested) to ST. LOUIS (emphasis added, as it was a big city adventure, a trip, if you will [even if you won’t, as some serious tripping was going on— [...]

    2. The Cover: The preface: "I want you to feel what it's like to be ten and, while the other kids are frolicking at summer camps, you're immured in the recesses of a mildewed hovel, subsisting on cigarettes and black coffee and spending twenty hours a day shooting a perverse misanthropic video version of Pippi Longstocking using tiny intricate marionettes made of cockroach carapaces, chicken bones, rat vertebrae pried from traps, discarded condoms, foil ketchup packets - whatever you can scavenge f [...]

    3. If this rambling, tedious, overly erudite "novel" had been 4x longer than it was, I probably would've docked a star or two. Take note, ghost of DFW.

    4. The Year Of Hyster(ia)(ical) Laughter (also known as The Year Of Laughing Unto Death/Death's Cackling Trumps All) began quite well with this one. More Leyner on the horizon, as the horizon draws inexorably closer.

    5. (view spoiler)[¿You've been reading vampire books and mommy porn but you ain't yet not read Mark Leyner's long-cold off the presses The Tetherballs of Bougainville? You, my friend have not been hip since 1997. And to make matters worse, you read Infinite Jest and disparage Jonathan Franzen for disparaging the most supreme William Gaddis but have yet still not ever yet licked the boots of Mark Leyner. E-fuckin-gads! Even Charlie Rose knows better. (hide spoiler)]

    6. OK. I talk a lot of shit. About everything.And a lot of times I make dubious recommendations to friends. I am concerned that I have traded most of my credibility with late-night boozy tirades about how good the second Danzig record is, etc.So hopefully someone out there will forgive me my trespasses, because this is the funniest book that I have ever read and everyone should give it a try.I am a big Mark Leyner fan. I think that at this point that I have read all but one of his works. It makes m [...]

    7. The truth is, I picked up this book for one strange reason: it has a character named Len Gutman who is a writer. How could I not read it?Have you ever googled yourself? Come on, be honest. I do every once in a while and this book kept coming up because of the character with my name. So I finally bought it a few weeks ago.Sad to say, I gave up about 1/3 of the way throughright after the character Len Gutman was first introduced and a few pages later when the strange story of his death came to an [...]

    8. I wonder if I should be at all concerned for my sanity, because I was actually able to follow Leyner in this one pretty well. Regardless, I loved the book. I actually liked it better than "The Sugar Frosted Nutsack." I could just be learning how to read Leyner better, it this one seemed more organic, more free in the leaps and jumpsd no one makes leaps and jumps like Leyner. Of course, I'm not one of those people that thinks that a novelist's career is a linear process, nor do I think that my pe [...]

    9. Things that are funnier than this "laugh-out-loud", "hilarious", "out of control" book: an iron lung, pancreatic cancer, a burning orphanage, a mindfulness seminar, a dubbed episode of "Coupling", the cartoons of the New Yorker, late-period Ronnie Barker vehicle "Clarence", visiting IKEA, the roundabouts of Coventry, and the overflow carparking facilities of Oxfordshire business parks. The author is described by the publishers as a "humourist". I mean, honestly - what was I thinking?

    10. In short, this book is totally insane.Technically taking place during the course of a single afternoon, The Tetherballs of Bougainville is somehow a sprawling, chaotic, and hilarious journey through the verbose psycho-ramblings of the 13-year old narrator.The spectacular first portion of the book starts with the botched execution of the main character's father who is then released into the New Jersey Discretionary Execution Program, where he could be instantly killed by the authorities at any ti [...]

    11. Many's the time I've wished I could read this book again for the first time. Imagery that's still rattling around in my head How many years ago was this published? Many years ago. Leyner is a twisted fuck. He tears apart narrative cliches like a fox in the henhouse. His writing is not for everyone. If you've read a page and don't like it, the rest of it is more of the same. He writes (I'm paraphrasing him) so that, if the pages of his book papered a room, you could throw a dart anywhere and land [...]

    12. any a$$hole with a master of social work can put on a turban and start issuing fatwas about whom you can and whom you can't mail meat to, but it takes real balls to turn a brunette without a cranium into a blonde."

    13. Utterly preposterous! Hand on heart one of the funniest things I've ever read - sections towards the end had me tearing up in snickering fits. Wildly inventive plots within plots, all carried along with an absurd Pynchonesque sense of humour. Highly recommended.

    14. I've been trying to track down somebody I like as much as DFW, and Leyner gets thrown in with him occasionally. Like I saw him, DFW, and Jonathan Franzen on an old Charlie Rose show. In it, Leyner says he tries to really "delight" his reader, which he expands on in Tetherballs itself, in which the main character, Mark Leyner, is reading the film review he wrote of his own movie (aptly named The Tetherballs of Bougainville) that he never made, but only reviewed (all of which is taking place in th [...]

    15. Why was I not informed of Mark Leyner? Somehow I survived the '90s without once hearing his name. Now that I've finished "Tetherballs" in one sitting (plane ride to Boston), I know that I will buy and read every single thing he's ever published. Even the magazine bits. This book is a miracle. I assumed that references to pop culture simply couldn't work, they eventually become dated, and then you have the Norton editors adding footnotes all over your text, so that every other word your eye plumm [...]

    16. Well, that wast as weird and cryptic as I would've thoughtd rather short! The second half of THE TETHERBALLS OF BOUGAINVILLE is actually a screenplay so it goes by fast. It's a novel that deconstruct pretty much every piece of pop culture it can get its hands on and tries to build a Ionescoesque absurd comedy with the immense wreckage on a universe that's filtered through our television screens.For the classical purists, it's about a kid witnessing his father's execution while struggling with hi [...]

    17. Leyner is a literary hero of mine. It seems like he can often accomplish in one sentence what it takes most writers to say in a few paragraphs. His writing is extremely smart, funny, and satirical--and I admit, I had to read this twice before I even began to understand it. He is very much part of the MTV, self absorbed, masculine-hyped, me generation, but somehow manages to pull it off with humor and derision. LOVE this quirky, zany novel, and wish he would write more fiction!

    18. "My father is not an evil man, he just can't do PCP socially." This is the crowning achievement of American literature. The main character is the author, at junior high age, trying to write a screenplay for a contest at his school. Extremely funny and all over the place.

    19. This book is laugh out loud funny. I can't even begin to summarize it, but I will simply concur with the reviewer that said, "Tetherballs is like Rushmore on cocaine wearing leather chaps waving a scimitar." I think that really does say it best.

    20. Simply awful. I heard an interview with the author on "Fresh Air" and bought the book. But it was a complete mess. I recommend it to insomniacs.

    21.        Okay, so the rundown is as follows. This is a Mark Leyner book, and like the previous book I reviewed by him (The Sugar-Frosted Nutsack), it's a strange and difficult read for anyone not looking for off-the-wall absurdity. While not as difficult a read as some of his other works, it's still not particularly easy.        This is, however, a good absurd "memoir" about adolescent life living with a father on the run in an insane world, and I must say that it's more accessible than [...]

    22. When I first read The Crying of Lot 49 I thought: well at least an author has found a way to dazzle us with language enough that we don't immediately figure out we're dealing with a cry for attention (a lot). Of course then you read Portnoys Complaint and The Tetherballs of Bougainville and you realize this is common practice. Most of the time there is something to be had in such novels that makes the reading worth while. In Lot 49 there is an interesting plot and in Portnoy we learn much more a [...]

    23. If this were a short story, I would like it a lot more. Instead, it's just too ironic and clever for my tastes and I just can't bring myself to finish it.**Update**Having skimmed through the book again and finished it, I still feel like this is too much post-modern song and dance for me, but I think I was too hard on it. I upped my rating from 2 to 3 stars. Maybe I shouldn't have tried to read it in one shot. It is post-modern, after-all, and jumps from cultural reference to academic reference a [...]

    24. I like postmodernism. In fact, most of my favorite writers are considered postmodernists. So when I found out about tis Leyner guy who has been grouped with the likes of Pynchon, Franzen, Wallace, etc I had to check him out. I was disappointed, to say the least. Imagine all the worst aspects of the postmodern novel, the disjointedness, the flaunted erudition, the arbitrary shifts in frame, drain them to the dregs of their content, and you've got The Tetherballs of Bougainville. Every sentence is [...]

    25. Mark Leyner clearly has a brilliant mind and I plan to check out some more of his work. I read a review that stated this book needs to be read twice before you really get it, so maybe, I'm the one that's deficient.This book, however clever and well written it may be (and it is extremely so) didn't do it for me. It's pure style, and perhaps in 1997 when it was new, that style wouldn't have felt like a rehashing of post-modern style tropes, many of which I've seen used to more interesting effect. [...]

    26. Ugh. One-third of the way through this book, and I, who have enjoyed Mark Leyner books in the past (Et tu, Babe in particular), cannot go on. Is Mark Leyner a very smart guy? Can he summon up esoteric knowledge to throw in your face at every turn? Yes. But the result of the pyrotechnics in this outing is soulless. I really enjoyed the quirky esoteric approach in Et tu, Babe, when I read it in my twenties. I see a similar aesthetic going on here, but seriously, fully one-third of the way through [...]

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