Patricia Marx is one of the finest comic writers of her time, as readers of The New Yorker and fans of Saturday Night Live already know. Her fiction debut is an endlessly entertaining comic novel about one woman's romantic fixation on her first boyfriend.
Marx's unabashedly neurotic heroine falls for philosopher Eugene Obello during her graduate school days in Cambridge, England. Why would anyone fall for a man who receives a grant to pursue Ego Studies? Why would that person remain obsessed, even after this guy marries and becomes a father? By "obsessed," we mean, well...sex and lusting and longing and hoping and waiting for this cad who is spread too thin. Her friends loathe him. Why can't she drop him? Is it because she was the only virgin on campus before she bumped into Eugene (a man who was hardly a virgin)? Is it because he kept a copy of the Magna Carta in his pocket? "You know what I think it really was?" she reflects. "He was a narcissist. I love narcissists...you don't have to buoy them up." When things get unbearable, our girl gives up trying to write her thesis -- and tries to give up on Eugene. She says good-bye to her dormitory room, decorated in a color she calls veal, and becomes a TV writer in New York on the hit sketch-comedy show Taped But Proud. Coincidentally, Eugene moves to New York as well -- to teach a seminar called "Toward a Philosophy of the Number Two" ("And if that goes well," he says, "they might let me have a go at the number three"). More years of lusting and longing, hoping and waiting. Until a spectacular event changes everything.
Photographed by Robert Adam Mayer at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
"Laugh-aloud funny, fierce, witty, incisive, well-written, engaging, and intelligent. A wonderful book."
-- Roz Chast, New Yorker cartoonist and author of The Party, After You Left
"As funny as Kingsley Amis and Nora Ephron, yet wholly original, that Patricia Marx is a crackerjack (lady) writer. Way more talented than Gummo!"
-- David Rakoff, author of Don't Get Too Comfortable
"Patricia Marx's dazzling book is painfully hilarious, and at the same time hilariously painful, and, for that matter, flat-out hilarious. Frankly, I've never enjoyed a bad relationship this much."
-- Susan Orlean, author of My Kind of Place
"Patty Marx is a complete original, with a dry, observant wit, a feeling for descriptive detail, and a cool kind of warmth, all entirely her own. Her tale of love sort of found and sort of lost in Cambridge and Manhattan will make any reader laugh hard and think harder."
-- Adam Gopnik, author of Through the Children's Gate and Paris to the Moon
"Patricia Marx is a wonderfully funny writer."
-- Ian Frazier, author of Gone to New York
"If you're like me, you read a blurb and think, Oh, I didn't know they were friends. But I hardly know Patty -- we had dinner once (with other people, and all she had was a Diet Coke). So you can believe me when I say: This may be the funniest book I've ever read. The funniest. Ever. And keep in mind I didn't write this blurb as a favor to Patty. I did it for you. So you'd be able to pick out the funniest book in the store and take it home and laugh your head off."
-- Melissa Bank, author of The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing
"I laughed at its audacity, and cried that I didn't write it."