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Spurious (2011)

by Lars Iyer

Series: Spurious Trilogy (1)

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18811142,549 (3.13)3
In a raucous debut that summons up Britain's fabled Goon Squad comedies, writer and philosopher Lars Iyer tells the story of someone very like himself with a "slightly more successful" friend and their journeys in search of more palatable literary conferences and better gin. One reason for their journeys: the narrator's home is slowly being taken over by a fungus that no one seems to know what to do about. Before it completely swallows his house, the narrator feels compelled to solve some major philosophical questions (such as "Why?") and the meaning of his urge to write, as well as the source of the fungus ... before it is too late. Or, he has to move.… (more)
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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
To paraphrase Seinfeld, "It's a book about Nothing!" Okay, not exactly, it's a book about two academics, philosophers, who want to have Thoughts, and live in the world of Ideas, only they're too stupid, they realize, they know this, they can't accomplish anything, so the one verbally abuses the other to delightful effect, and they seek a Leader who can provide them Thoughts, only whenever they find one they scare him away by telling him they're his followers, so mostly they try to read books which they don't understand, and discuss the apocalypse and the Messiah, and try to look religious since they unfortunately lack all religious belief ("Nothing is more boring than an atheist", laments W.), and drink a lot of gin.

It's the sort of book that I'd say could be 30 pages or 300 pages, no matter. The full idea can be got across in 30, but equally it could go on much longer. Indefinitely really. Such is the liberation of plotlessness, as long as it is amusing. And this is fairly amusing, though I admit, I like Story. I like Plot. So I'm giving it 3 stars, though I'm also going to start the second book in this trilogy without hesitation.

And that's not exactly true either, there is a nod to Plot, in that Lars's apartment is being taken over by Damp. A mysterious damp that he muses may be a living entity, expressing itself through his dripping walls and ceilings. None of the experts he calls in can find the cause of this damp, and it has a Kafkaesque ring to it, who, naturally, is one of our heroes' heroes. ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
So odd...and interesting...just odd.

If you've ever seen the movie Withnail and I, you know just how dysfunctional and one sided a relationship can get. This is like that, but sort of meaner. Yet still funny.

Oh, and must not forget the overwhelmingly damp flat.

So, so, odd. ( )
  beentsy | Aug 12, 2023 |
If you:
...read too much Heidegger, Spinoza, and Kierkegaard in your formative years which then caused all experiences from puberty onward to become internal debates, crises of consciousness, self-reflexive moments that forced you to pull a Hamlet and dwell in your head rather than enjoy life without over-thinking it like those who read, say, Judy Blume in lieu of Kafka.

...have ever gotten drunk and thought that you were the Messiah.

...have ever gotten drunk and thought that your interlocutor was the Messiah.

...think that B��la Tarr is the Messiah.

...prefer your action rendered as "action" and thereafter rendered in Socratic dialogue, punctuated by ejaculations of "moor!" and "river!"

...think that we are in the end of days.

...are a fan of Derrida & co. and need a laughingly perverse bout of crying or a cryingly perverse bout of laughing.

...have a problem with damp in your flat and make not mountains out of molehills but allegories out of mold spores.

...admire your best friend more than yourself (as does he).
... well, then, you must hastily get your hands on a copy of this and begun reading your way through Iyer's trilogy tout de suite. ( )
  proustitute | Apr 2, 2023 |
like self-aware Ignatius Reilly talking to himself.

some good parts in the last 40 pages. ( )
  stravinsky | Dec 28, 2020 |
What place do we have in the world? None. Where's it all going? To perdition. To desolation, and to the abomination of desolation. And are we going with it? All the way! That's where we're heading now with our gin and our apocalypticism, full speed into the night.

I was first made aware of the novel Spurious by Goodreader [p]. He is now gone, into the ether. Or night. I miss him and his reviews. I likely spend too much time pondering that "miss." Spurious details a friendship. The parties are Lars and W. I haven't pondered whether the "Lars" is the novel's author. The friendship meditates on failure and on the historical friendship between Kafka and Brod. I bought two copies of this novel. I gave one to my best friend when he visited last week. I don't worry about failure. I do worry about my friend. I try not to be troubled when ranks of goodreaders move on. I sort of stick things out. I have been at my job for almost 21 years. I have been friends with j for almost 30. I read this novel in two sessions, the latter riddled with doubt about it all. By "all" I mean existence, not the snarky frame of this narrative. My friend is now back in New York and life proceeds. Most likely I won't read further novels from the author.
( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
True to its interest in Messianism and Jewish mysticism, Spurious is, finally, a book about waiting. W. and Lars wait, as Beckett’s characters do, as Kafka’s do. It might also be a book about salvation, about joy—unless salvation is impossible, and joy another symptom of idiocy. This novel has a seductive way of always doubling back on itself, scorching the earth but extracting its own strange brand of laughter from its commitment to despair.
 

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In a raucous debut that summons up Britain's fabled Goon Squad comedies, writer and philosopher Lars Iyer tells the story of someone very like himself with a "slightly more successful" friend and their journeys in search of more palatable literary conferences and better gin. One reason for their journeys: the narrator's home is slowly being taken over by a fungus that no one seems to know what to do about. Before it completely swallows his house, the narrator feels compelled to solve some major philosophical questions (such as "Why?") and the meaning of his urge to write, as well as the source of the fungus ... before it is too late. Or, he has to move.

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