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This fateful trip begins with Gilligan, who tells of his days writing beat poetry with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, only to awaken in a Minnesota mental institution. The Skipper relates how he spent World War II drinking cheap beer on PT boats with McHale and Jack Kennedy, who had "a grin like autumn leaves with a pack of Chiclets in the middle." In later stories, "beaming, imbecilic" Thurston recommends former chum Alger Hiss for his first government job, while spoiled Lovey has a morphine-inspired fling with The Great Gatsby's Daisy Buchanan. Brilliant bombshell Ginger ("My hips could have started the Timex folks weeping") lands a B-movie career in L.A., and a memorable night at Frank Sinatra's house. In between building the A-bomb, inventing the CIA, and generally dictating world events with his pals Roy Cohn and "Hank" Kissinger, the Professor bestows sexual favors on invalids. Finally, cheerful Mary-Ann, "the personification of America," leaves her Kansas home to attend the Sorbonne, where she meets a handsome Frenchman and discovers she is unable to lose her virginity.
Along the way, Gilligan's Wake's elusive meta-narrator reveals himself through clues and exposition in his hallucinatory retelling of American history. Carson propels the novel with astute cultural criticisms and energetic prose, including rapid-fire wordplay and narrative echoes that recall Thomas Pynchon. The result is a multifaceted, uncertain, and dazzling voyage. --Ross Doll
Yes, the answer to the question posed above is "yes", the novel is good, albeit a tad confusing at first. Read morePublished 20 months ago by mbanni063
It's an easy enough premise. The novel explores the possible missunderstnading of a distroted, dyspotian America by creating backstories for the 7 characters of Gilligan's Island. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Scott1970
I purchased a used hardback copy through Amazon. I read the first couple of chapters, and threw it in the recycle bin. The rest of the one and two star reviews are spot on.Published on July 8, 2013 by Dave C
A brilliant premise poisoned by pretentious purple prose. 1st book I bought for my Kindle Fire. VERY disappointed. Read morePublished on December 4, 2011 by SCGirl64
Why is it hip and cool to take a beloved show's darling characters and turn them into something distorted and unlikeable? Read morePublished on October 15, 2010 by L. Beikircher
A book entitled "Gilligan's Wake" makes obvious allusion to two narrative phenomena: Gilligan's Island, arguably the guiltiest of television's guilty pleasures and Finnegan's Wake,... Read morePublished on February 20, 2010 by Toby Cornish
Both five-star and one-star ratings are easy to understand for "Gilligan's Wake". The novel can be quite clever and funny and observant, a real piece of work. Read morePublished on July 30, 2008 by T. Burket
Carson provides a genuine tour de force that does not impinge upon Fitzgerald's quest for the great American novel, while displaying tremendous grasp of popular culture, major... Read morePublished on June 11, 2005 by Kajetan
Nashville City Paper BookClub Column - May 27, 2004
If you cannot get enough of the Rat Pack then select Gilligan's Wake by Tom Carson (Picador). Read more