From Publishers Weekly
A gallery of grotesques slogs through the sewers of the entertainment industry toward redemption in this exhilarating debut novel from the host of The Late Late Show
. Leading the pack are Fraser, a Scottish "phony TV evangelist... drunken, selfish media prick... gossip and sot" who has been disgraced in a sex scandal; his cancer-stricken boyhood pal, George; vapid sit-com star Leon; and Leon's 300-pound, sexually perverted Svengali brother, Saul. They make their separate but linked ways through a world populated by snake handlers, serial killers, dead-eyed whores and hack studio executives pushing formulaic action films, while they take hallucinatory side trips. The sprawling tale, with plenty of Scottish backstory, casts a jaundiced eye on media debaucheries and petty vanities, throwing in miscellaneous riffs on everything from Starbuck's to escort ads, but Ferguson is particularly sharp—and funny—on Hollywood proper. For every satire of organized religion or a Vegas that's "as glitzy as a trailer park at Christmas," however, he delivers an injunction to "help others" or an ode to Paris in springtime that somehow sounds fresh. The result is a tour de force of cynical humor and poignant reverie, a caustic yet ebullient picaresque that approaches the sacred by way of the profane. (Apr. 10)
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Ferguson is best-known to Americans as host of The Late Late Show
, and moviegoers may recognize him as the Glasgow hairdresser in The Big Tease
and the pot-puffing lead in Saving Grace
. His strange, funny, profane, surreal, and surprisingly moving first novel is about friends since childhood from Glasgow. Fraser meets fame and fortune--well, the Scottish equivalents, at least--as a televangelist but unfortunately has insatiable yens for booze, prostitutes, and . . . knitwear. Meanwhile, George is a bit of a lost soul, who may or may not have a terminal illness. The novel also features illegitimate half-brothers Saul and Leon from the American Deep South and an eclectic cast of historical figures, including Carl Jung. Ferguson pokes good-natured fun at the media, pop culture, reality TV, religion, and, of course, Scotland as the novel jumps gleefully from Glasgow to London to Paris to Miami to Vegas to L.A., and from one character to another, while somehow managing to make weird literary sense. Fond of deranged, slightly warped humor? Try this. June SawyersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved