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Starting From Happy by Patricia Marx []



Patricia Marx, a regular contributor to the New Yorker and a former Saturday Night Live writer, had me convulsing in fits of laughter on the sofa with her new book Starting From Happy. Fans of Woody Allen or Miranda July’s surreal, humorous short fiction and lovers of Demetri Martin’s use of pie charts will certainly enjoy.
Here we have the love story (sort of…) of Imogene and Wally. I suppose won’t divulge too much more about the principles for there are many twists and turns. The author appears as Patty. We don’t know where she fits into this narrative exactly, but she’s able to comment when necessary.
Graphs are exhibited, kumquats are drawn.
Marx divides her text in short “chaplettes” that are often composed with brief dialog, nonchalant time shifts or just plain quick bursts of deadpan humor. This storytelling device not only helps usher the plot along with vigor, it also gives the author the opportunity to deliver some sublimely meta moments. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite instances:
“One more question,” said Wally. “Do you think we’ll be in this book long enough for them to hear me stop pleading with you?”
Enough Horsing Around.

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