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NNNNN: A Novel by Carl Reiner

NNNNN: A Novel

by Carl Reiner

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This is a light, amusing story. ( )
  grandpahobo | Sep 24, 2015 |
NNNNN by Carl Reiner is a short piece of metafiction that in audio form, is read by the author. My friend Ken, who also got me addicted to audio books, and chick lit, loaned me his copy.

Ned Nolan is working on his fifth book. As a good luck charm, he always titles his books in progress with an N. As this is his fifth one and he's stuck for a working title, he just types out five Ns.

As the book is metafiction, it draws attention to the methods behind the story telling. Part of that meta-ness is focus on a writer suffering from writer's block. But a big part of it, is the book within the book — Ned Nolan's piece — and the fact that it and the book as a whole share the same title.

Ned's book opens the novel and in the audio form, it comes with an annoying pastoral piece. I cringed on hearing the flowery music, combined with a rather humdrum re-imagining of the early bits of Genesis. Ned worries his newest piece is too shocking and blasphemous but frankly I found it an annoying piece of filler. Later in the book I mostly skipped over these tracks.

Ignoring (as I chose to do) Ned's novel, the rest of this book (novella, really) is about a man who has anger management issues and has started to talk to himself without realizing he's doing it. In seeking help for his problem he begins therapy with the aptly named Dr. Frucht. But more importantly his therapy sessions lead him to discovering the truth behind his birth and adoption.

It was the introduction of the adoption plot that finally got me hooked (at least on Ned's personal story) on the audio. There are so many bizarre coincidences and twists and turns that Ned uncovers. It's truly memorable and oddly charming. ( )
  pussreboots | Apr 22, 2013 |
B B B B B: booooooriiiiiing! ( )
  bohemiangirl35 | Dec 3, 2010 |
Like many of my sedentary compatriots, my after-school hours growing up were spent sitting in front of decade old sitcom reruns. McHale's Navy was big and Hogan's Heroes was must-see. But few if any of my friends stuck around for the Dick Van Dyke Show. In addition to somehow being immune to the affects of a certain Capri pant-wearer, my friends obviously lacked the sophistication needed to appreciate the talents of show creator and head writer Carl Reiner. But I didn't - by third grade I had Reiner pegged as a comic genius. His later work directing some of Steve Martin's best movies only added to my admiration.

I tell you all of this to give you an idea of what I expected when I saw Reiner's latest novel in the library, and to let you know just how much I hate saying that the book was a thorough disappointment.

Reiner spends way too much of NNNNN inside his oddball protagonist’s mind, and it's not a particularly funny or interesting place to be. Where most of the Dick Van Dyke Show's sharpest humor came when Rob Petrie bounced jokes off his fellow comedy-writers (neither of whom, thankfully, ever wore Capri pants), NNNNN's novelist (who is working on his fifth n-n-n-n-novel, get it?) spends most of his time talking to himself, so much so that he decides to seek professional help for a possible case of schizophrenia, which in turn leads to his looking for a possible real-life twin.

The dialogue between our novelist's personalities ranges from dull to repetitive. In fact, the whole story is dull and repetitive. Bits that weren't funny the first time show up again and again. Conversation, like the storyline, is stilted, slow, unrealistic, and just plain boring. About the only good thing I can say about the book is that it was, mercifully, pretty short.

If after reading this you still buy the novel, I would suggest you shelve it lying flat so that the title on spine appears as the much more appropriate "ZZZZZ." ( )
2 vote mhgatti | Aug 8, 2007 |
I picked this one up because I love Carl Reiner. Not at all what I was expecting. It was funny, crazy, and really, at the end, didnt make any sense. I still enjoyed it though. ( )
  hlselz | Feb 19, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743286693, Hardcover)

The hero of Carl Reiner's nutty and wonderful novel, Nat Noland, is hard at work on his fifth book, his own version of Genesis, concentrating on the relationship between Cain and Abel. While investigating their relationship, he starts to investigate his relationship with himself. His doting wife, Glennie, gets worried when she hears him having a loud, heated discussion while he's alone in the basement. Because he is unaware that he is talking to himself -- in two distinct voices -- she encourages him to seek the help of the famous Viennese psychiatrist Dr. Frucht.

After a few sessions, Dr. Frucht elicits descriptions of Nat's recurring childhood dreams and the fact that he never knew his biological parents. In the lobby, when Nat bumps into the lovely Dr. Gertrude Trampleasure, an empathologist, she tells him how much he resembles her old teenage sweetheart, Buddy Keebler: "You two could be twins!" With the assistance of a private eye, Nat embarks on a quest to search for this "twin" and his unknown past, while continuing to work on his biblical novel, NNNNN.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:13 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

NNNNN follows the misadventures of a hard-working writer who struggles to pen his own version of Genesis, attends psychiatric counseling, and learns that he may have a twin sibling.

» see all 2 descriptions

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