Knopf, Hardcover, 9780375408229, 192pp.
Publication Date: February 15, 2000
From "a fiercely intelligent writer" (New York Times Book Review) and the author of The Hundred Brothers (a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist) comes a strikingly insightful and inspired new novel -- set in a pancake house. Donald Antrim's The Verificationist is a deadly serious, desperately playful, off-the-wall, and perfectly on-target book permeated by the unlikely smell of maple syrup in the evening and the sharpened consciousness of a group of psychoanalysts.
Tom is our narrator -- a seemingly adequately analyzed psychotherapist who, during a nightlong pancake dinner with colleagues, finds himself locked in an embrace with Bernhardt, the towering father figure of the group. Bernhardt is merely trying to keep Tom from starting a food fight, but the effects are disastrous: in an out-of-body experience, Tom floats up to the ceiling and from there looks down on himself and his cronies. Over the course of the night, he watches as his friendships, his marriage, even his professional identity, unfold and unravel until, in a catastrophic and inevitable tandem ascent and regression, he loses his very sense of himself as a man.
Taking on psychoanalysis and sex, work and family, The Verificationist explodes old myths and creates new ones. It is a wildly imagined, superbly written novel from a writer whose work has been hailed as "gloriously unhinged" (San Francisco Chronicle).
"Totally exhilarating.... [Antrim] gives everything a delicious new spin.??Newsday