I suppose one can’t un-recommend a book that one did not recommend in the first place but, whatever the opposite of a recommendation is, that’s what we have going on here today.
It’s never a good sign when, on page 67, you find yourself checking to see how many pages are left in the book. Somewhere around page 100 of Lance Carbuncle’s Grundish and Askew, a pair of newscasters break the fourth wall to brag about how shitty the book is. Setting aside several meta-contextual statements by the narrator, this was the second time in 100 pages that characters in the novel broke the fourth wall. This time the author himself put in an appearance, presumably to do something terrible to the characters in question but, I will never know because it was one indulgence too far and I put the book down at that point.
Lance Carbuncle must have quite the cult following to have so many positive reviews both at Goodreads and on Amazon. I don’t get it. My tastes run towards the dark (Jim Thompson) and the bizarre (Patrick deWitt) so don’t for a second believe that my objections to this book have anything to do with the “shocking” puerile content. Grotesque and disturbing is all well and good if it is done well or, if at very least, it is funny. The gross-out material in Grundish and Askew is neither handled well nor particularly funny and the result is a childish bit of self-indulgent nonsense.
It’s very rare that I don’t finish a book. I’m sure Lance Carbuncle celebrates every time someone puts down one of his books because he likes to imagine that he has succeeded in giving another square reader the vapors but, in the case of Grundish and Askew, my decision to stop reading had little to do with the gross-out content and everything to do with the fact that it’s just a terrible book. Anyone looking for similar content from an author with actual talent should check out James Boice’s The Good and The Ghastly. I was luke-warm on The Good and The Ghastly when I read it but Lance Carbuncle makes James Boice look like James-fucking-Joyce.