The Whole by John Reed 90’s. If malapropisms make you laugh out loud, you will have fun with this book. Thing, the blond hottie and main character, can’t seem to get out a sentence without one. Lewis Carroll’s Alice, who fell down the rabbit hole, was a good bit brighter and a lot less narcissistic. Still, there are similarities: a mysterious hole has opened up and a mysterious rabbit is ever at the ready with pink cocktails.
Now I will show I went to graduate school. In An Anatomy of Criticism, Northrup Frye invents a comprehensive way to categorize literary works. One way to divide works up is by modes. In the ironic mode the author and the reader are co-conspirators, viewing the fictional characters as less than they are. If a character’s name is Thing, I guess we must be deep into the ironic mode. Thing is an object, but one with some feelings – she wants to be famous, rich and idolized. Okay, those are feelings.
As I remember John Reed, he was not particularly into French. I am happy to see that despite my own failure to reach him, he nonetheless learned some French, enough to let the modern Ms. Malaprop say, as she goes off with a married couple that she’s willing to try a “fromage à trois.” Also, an unusual person has a certain “Je ne suis pas.” (Descartes would have loved that!).
It would take a Northrup Frye to catalog all the swipes at modern society and all the inventive twists as the hole grows and we are bound to fall down in it. There’s social criticism here, there’s a great sense of fun, and there may even be a bit of metaphysics, which I’m afraid is too deep for me.