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Beemer: A Novel Hardcover – July 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press; First Edition edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569473293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569473290
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,767,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Beemer Minutia, a 25-year-old Southern California drifter, has already lived in 15 different cities at the start of this breezy debut novel, a paean to consumerism. Currently, Beemer lives out of his Honda Civic, sustaining himself with makeshift meals from the 7-Eleven, and moves from strip mall to parking lot in search of his big break. Reared in the '80s by two detached parents ("Reagan watched over us, and Atari kept us busy"), he entertains visions of his name mass-marketed on everything from "motion pictures to action figures." His more immediate, practical future, however, involves a decision to move in with his feisty, power-obsessed girlfriend, Paulina ("Paul") and her family in "Regularland." Beemer scores entry-level work at an advertising firm, and his creativity is rewarded with a promotion to more high-profile assignments on another floor of the building (accessed via an otherworldly porthole in the men's room). Random explosions mark the first in a series of random anti-consumerist attacks, and Paul flees the drama to tour with Eunuch Town, the boy band she manages, leaving our dejected hero alone at the mercy of Paul's Uzi-toting mother and computer-whiz brother. Is there any hope for L.A.'s laziest slacker? Worldwide success for Eunuch Town and a surrealistic long-term project for Beemer seem to point toward pseudohappiness. Gaslin's story meanders along at a comfortable clip, though the plot has a tendency to detour into chatty psychobabble. A behind-the-scenes sequence at a fast food restaurant and Beemer's unique marketing campaign for "Death" are both clever and insightful, demonstrating Gaslin's potential for greater things. But like Beemer's sugary soda habit, this novel's empty calories supply a modest rush but little else. Coupland does it better.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

An affectionately lethal sendup of Orange County suburbia . . . sharply observed. -- The Orange County Register, June 15, 2003

Sharp and entertaining . . . Beemer is a blisteringly funny satire on the acquisitive self. -- Chris Lehmann, Washington Post, July 22, 2003

Slapdash satire. Loads of fun, often over-the-top, yet in its way as simple and earnest as On the Road. -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review, June 1, 2003

The future is scary . . . at least a good imagination like Gaslin's can add some humor. -- Rocky Mountain News, July 2, 2003

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin F. Sherry on June 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a fun read. Newbie author Glenn Gaslin takes loving aim at the wonders of America, while poking fun at absurd cultural institutions like monster SUVs, militant gated communities, ... boy bands, giant convenience-store beverages and the emerging, soon-to-be-dominating power of the next generation.
The story centers around Beemer Minutia, a young man alternately living and hunting for the American Dream. All he wants to do is drive and discover, but he's willing to settle down for love. As long as it's in the biggest, most extreme housing development ever.
For the record, my favorite lines are:
"Ask him what kind of name's that: Beemer."
"Hey, what kind of name's that?"
"German."
The story if fun and the cover is pretty. Buy it. You'll like it. If not, the cover is still pretty.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The word "Pynchonian" gets tossed around a lot when it comes to literary phenoms these days, but BEEMER (TM) is the real thing. This novel is an answer to where you go when you reach the end of the road, what you do when irony fails you and all the old modes of dealing are suspect. The language is fluent and stark at the same time, bringing a new life to what most writers treat as background noise.
And it's funny. Because, God knows, in a world like this, we need a few laughs...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve R VINE VOICE on September 22, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marx, bless his heart, believed that the Future was communism, an idea whose time would inevitably follow and replace--in some trans-historical Hegelian fashion--capitalism. Of course, when the revolution came a century and a half later it was televised, but not by state-run media; it was Marx's own great idea we watched being smashed to rubble in Berlin, accompanied by the warbling of (alas, poor Karl! the final insult) David Hasselhoff.

Beemer Minutia, the hero of this perfect-in-every-way debut novel, saw this revolution live on TV too, and at a very impressionable age. With History officially over, the Future belonged no longer to nations, but to individuals. In a dramatic come-from-behind, the Future turns out to be capitalism after all, and Beemer Minutia wants his share: Beemer™, the archetypal Brand Me, with a media empire of books and movies and maybe a talk show and, in case you get thirsty from it all, Beemer™ soda, which we are led to believe will taste a lot like Mountain Dew ™, only better. So start like'n it.

The business plan for Beemer™ includes an equally driven girlfriend (the impetus for a lot of car-top sex), a black-ops advertising agency, an appallingly well-organized group of pre-teen domestic terrorists, a boy-band of questionable masculinity, and lots and lots of ice-cold super-sized fountain soda. Unfortunately for Beemer, the funding never comes through. But like all business visionaries failure is just a stumbling block, propelling him to greater, more profound endeavors.

From identical metropolises of 1.1 million people to a desert periphery where some still search for an `authentic' America, author Glenn Gaslin hints at an alternate or future U.S. of A. now increasingly familiar.
Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phil Kailer on July 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Beemer is a hilarious tale of a journey through the Southern California world of media consultancy and related industries. The story has some related nudges towards Max (Maxx) Barry's SYRUP, yet the writing is more towards Chuck Palahniuk or J.G. Ballard. As he self describes: "I lecture their CEOs and COOs and C-whatever-whatevers on the importance of sublime irony in marketing to twentysomethings, the clued-in earnestness of talking to teenagers, the subconscious product-placement opportunities of video games. I sell them manifestos on whatever detail of their global empire they're sweating at the moment..."
As the story grows on, it becomes a tad crazier (Beemer's girlfriend becomes a publicist for a boy band made up of Eunuchs) and you really have to take what is going on with a grain of salt.
But the writing is marvelous and a fun, and even thought-provoking, read. Worth the cover rprice.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Lynch on July 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A wicked satire of Edge Cities, where gas stations are the size of shopping malls, and shopping malls are the size of nations. The descriptions of suburbia alone are worth the price of admission. This is the novel McG should have based his television show on. So don't watch TV, buy this book and read it instead.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William E. Heisel on July 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When I read that Glenn Gaslin was drawing comparisons to Arthur Miller (The Washington Post), Jack Kerouac (Kirkus Reviews), Lewis Carroll and Douglas Coupland (The Rocky Mountain News) I thought, "That's a little much isn't it?" But Gaslin's debut novel, "Beemer," proves that his name soon will be the one summoned when reviewers are trying to explain a book as simultaneously fantastic and clear-headed as this. We hear much talk about what it means to be American these days. Gaslin's answer is provocative, unpredictable and, despite its politically charged atmosphere, apolitical, so much so that this book should be a hit with the Green Party, the Atlas Society and everyone in between. If you like Julio Cortazar, you'll love Beemer. If you like Mark Helprin, you'll love Beemer. If you prefer watching TV and playing Doom to reading, there's still a pretty good chance you'll love Beemer. How can you not like a novel that begins with a great sex scene? It ends with the creation of a desert Eden. Along the way, Beemer explores a child's disillusionment with his parents, the rapidly widening gap between generations and, in a bit of pre-9-11 prescience, the marketing power of domestic terrorism. The Washington Post wrote: "It would be easy to make "Beemer" a manifesto, in which a flat glyph of a character dutifully incants none-too-subtle broadsides from his creator's fevered brain. Such indeed is the run of consumer-hip pomo lit, from Bret Easton Ellis to Chuck Palahniuk. But Glenn Gaslin, who toils by day as an editor for Entertainment Weekly, is too good a writer to give in to such reflexes, and so "Beemer" is a blisteringly funny satire on the acquisitive self, a welcome detour out of the mounting rubble of Terminators, Hulks and Living Histories into the dark heart of the American dream." I concur.
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