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NNNNN: 12/03/12

cover art

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. I cringed on hearing the flowery music, combined with a rather humdrum re-imagining of the early bits of Genesis. 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. My first thought 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.

Four stars

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