Bewildered but lovable author, Muldoon, is trapped in the dreamlike narrative of his own surrealistic novel. Beginning with just a title—Incognolio—he enters a bizarre fictional realm that plunges him into an identity crisis of anguishing proportions. Is he writing a story in which his stillborn twin sister has come to life, or is he the one who died at birth and it’s his sister who’s writing the novel? Guided only by the whims and dictates of his subconscious mind, Muldoon must unravel the mystery of Incognolio and write his way to freedom or succumb to madness.
I almost didn’t make it past the first page of Incognolio:
Ever since the concussion, I can’t get the damn word out of my head.
I haven’t a clue what it means. But I love the sound of it.
I wasn’t sure where the author was going, or if he even knew where he was going. But I decided to stick it out.
By Chapter 5, when the protagonist talks about sex with his sister, I was ready to delete the book off my Kindle Fire. Then the word “farce” ran through my head, and I remembered Island of the Sequined Love Nun, one of my favorite books by my favorite farcical author, Christopher Moore. I took a deep breath, and hung on for the ride.
And what a ride it was! I have to say this is the most meta tragi-comedy I have ever read. At one point, the characters “rejoice in their ontological status as fictional beings,” while at the same time debating the existence of reality at all. Is free will really an illusion? And if you ever figure out who the actual author of the book is, please let me know. Maybe it’s really Henry from Once Upon a Time. 😉
The word Incognolio is given not less than 6 (maybe 7? I lost track) different definitions, ranging from an epidemic of nonsense, to a benevolent goddess, but none of them are definitive by the end of the novel.
I give Incognolio 4 1/2 stars!! I really enjoyed the story (once I could comprehend it). It’s not for everyone, and just a wee bit pretentious, but a great read, nonetheless!!
About the Author:
Abandoned by a cackle of laughing hyenas, Michael Sussman endured the drudgery and hardships of a Moldavian orphanage until fleeing with a traveling circus at the age of twelve. A promising career as a trapeze artist was cut short by a concussion that rendered him lame and mute. Sussman wandered the world, getting by on such odd jobs as pet-food tester, cheese sculptor, human scarecrow, and professional mourner while teaching himself the art of fiction. He now lives in Tahiti with Gauguin, an African Grey parrot.
Author Site: https://www.