From Library Journal
The eponymous Frank lives in a dysfunctional world where the excesses and cruelties of late 20th-century American culture run amok. In this startling, surreal, and often brilliant stream-of-consciousness allegory, Mangels skewers virtually every inanity of contemporary life, from television to corporate greed to general inhumanity, all prostituting the American dream. Frank goes through life sucking all that is good and sane from those he meets, feeding and thriving on society's horrors. The author's thought processes are fascinating to follow and he is usually on target. However, the novel as a whole suffers from an eventually tiresome in-your-face vituperation, wearying the reader before Frank's tale is ended. Still, first novelist Mangels's audacity results in a flawed tour-de-force, not to everyone's taste but definitely cutting edge fiction. For modern fiction collections.?Eric W. Johnson, Teikyo Post Univ. Lib., Waterbury, Ct.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Loud, rude, funny, horrifying--and a great
novel. From childhood on, Frank is pure evil, an instiller of fear, a destroyer of dreams and souls. His scatological assault begins on his parents, moves to his teachers, and finally encompasses the larger world. The closest he comes to love is watching television as a child, "sucking up images and bathing in the warm pink radioactive glow" ; his hero is Mr. Ed, the TV horse. Later, he finds solace in the films of Walt Disney, though he ruthlessly deconstructs them. Frank's point of view is twisted and frightening, yet the reader comes to know him well enough to understand that at least some of what he says and thinks is terribly right. In a sense, Frank is trying to figure out the big why of life, and he reminds one of a TV-watching, 1990s version of Flannery O'Connor's Misfit, from the short story "A Good Man Is Hard to Find." Mangels has created a narrative tour de force, Pynchon-esque but with a harder edge. Highly recommended. Brian McCombie