NNNNN by Carl Reiner

NNNNNIf you are any kind of a fan of Carl Reiner, you would have loved to have been a fly on the wall as he was developing his ideas for the 2000 Year Old Man with Mel Brooks or writing the Dick Van Dyke Show or the Show of Show of Shows with Sid Caesar or directing the Jerk or any of the numerous comedic works that this now almost 90 year man has created in his career. The format of this 2006 novel by Reiner gives the reader the opportunity to get a glimpse into his genius and his sense of humor. You view most of the book through the eyes of Nat Noland who is a novelist struggling to write his 5th novel appropriately titled NNNNN: A Novel, (You might guess the names of his first 4 which each increased in length by one letter and since they all were successful, he couldn’t go wrong with this title). Nat happens to have a problem of constantly talking to himself which disturbs him and his wife so he eventually goes to see a New York Viennese psychiatrist Dr. Frucht. However, this trait of carrying on a conversation with himself gives the reader some insight into his thinking as he struggles with his novel and then with an unusual discovery he is about to make about himself. His topic for his book is a proposed new version of Genesis. He starts off recounting his imagined conversation of the two brothers in the Garden of Eden when Abel reports to Cain that he has seen another women other than “Mama.” She was of dark skin and made him feel that he wanted to lie with her. Cain can’t believe him and insists it must have been Mama how terrible it is that he should want to lie with Mama. The story goes on from there with the novelist debating with himself how to develop the plot. While in the midst or writing this novel and going for his sessions with Dr. Frucht, he runs into Dr. Gertrude Trampleasure who has an office in the same building of the good psychiatrist. Dr.Trampleasure herself is an “empathologist” and by coincidence she thought she recognized Nat Noland as a good friend she knew many years ago. Turns out that pictures of this other person look exactly like Nat suggesting he may have been a twin. The twists and turns of the story multiple a couple of times and we come to share the workings of Carl Reiner’s comedic mind in a funny and intriguing novel.

Category: FC - Fiction Comedy | Tags: , , Comment »

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