Starred Review. Hecht's sophomore effort is one of the most entertaining, and most original, books of the year. Its conceit, barring a few introductory sonnets, is to riff on jokes-become-aphorisms, dismantling assumptions as quickly as she dishes punch lines. "What did the sadist do to the masochist?/ Nothing" generates a brisk, hyperintelligent lyric about the ideas of need and mastery, studded by frequent half-rhymes and internal rhymes. "How many gorillas does it take/ to screw in a lightbulb?" prompts three pages of subtle, wise meditation on human evolution and human error. "Are You Not Glad?" turns a knock-knock joke into smart couplets about regret and love: "Orange you glad? No, I'm not. I ate the berries./ I was hungry. I was young." Switching deftly between the caricatured protagonists of the jokes themselves and more nuanced memories from real lives, Hecht sees how many jokes depend on familiarity and surprise, and how many highlight the disappointments ordinary experience can provide: "One way or another we all become/ the other." The New York–based Hecht (The Next Ancient World), who also writes books of popular philosophy (Doubt: A History), appends a neat 11-page prose essay about the relations between jokes and poems: even without the essay, this book brings the two forms tantalizingly close. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Guy calls the doctor, says the wife's contractions are five minutes apart Doctor says, Is this her first child? guy says, No, it's her husband. I promise to remember who I am." - excerpt from "Love Explained"See all Editorial Reviews
This was a great book and a wonderful read. I really enjoyed it and everybody should read it! I highly recommend it.Published 18 months ago by MaryAnn
Got this as a gift and just loved it. Not at all what I expected from a poetry book. Fantastic and also sort of disturbing.Published 18 months ago by Claudia Ribas Ph.D LCSW