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Just a Couple of Days Paperback – April 2, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Originally self-published in 2001, Vigorito's bloated first novel goes mainstream in this "newly updated" version. When Dr. Blip Korterly, the eccentric philosopher best friend of narrator and molecular biologist Dr. Flake Fountain, vandalizes a bridge with the words "uh-oh," he starts a chain reaction that ends in cataclysm. Along the way, Flake is enlisted by Tibor Tynee, the megalomaniac president and CEO of Tynee University (and Flake's boss), to create a vaccine for the Pied Piper virus, a U.S. military-designed bug that destroys humans' ability to communicate. General Kiljoy, in charge of the Pied Piper project (and very, very Gen. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove), works out a deal with the local police and the university to test the virus on prisoners. Blip, arrested after a confrontation with a raving preacher on the university green, ends up becoming one of the test subjects. The virus, of course, escapes the test facility, leading to some very bad things. Vigorito frequently delves into goofy metaphors and hippie screeds, and though his novel offers plenty of absurdity, his inability to go big with humor or vision leaves this feeling like Pynchon ultra-lite. (Apr.)
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PRAISE FOR JUST A COUPLE OF DAYS
"Just a Couple of Days may be the most unusual, the most original novel I have ever read. It reminds me of my own first novel, Another Roadside Attraction, in that it almost completely defies what we've been taught that a novel ought to be... If philosophical ideas were harpoons, Tony Vigorito could turn every whale in Ahab's ocean into floating pincushions..." —Tom Robbins
"A lyrical, thoughtful, viral meme of a book. Read it!"—CHRISTOPHER MOORE, author of LAMB and A DIRTY JOB
"This is the kind of literary enjoyment so many people say you shouldn’t have, and then worry about when you start to draw larger conclusions from . . . I’d go so far as to say that this novel is ‘folk heroic’ and should be read by anyone who still values their capacity to think for themselves."—KRIS SAKNUSSEMM, author of ZANESVILLE
Top customer reviews
I don't have a problem with hippies. I have friends who loathe them as being impractical daydreamers, but I actually see eye-to-eye with many of their ideals. However, I also see the limitations of those ideas and their applications, as well as some of the basic flaws that prompt people to tune them out altogether. These are the same flaws in this book (among others). For instance, the story and it's message are relayed in the most childish way possible (intentionally) but also with an undeniable smugness. In other words, it takes itself too seriously while pretending not to take anything seriously at all (and suggesting readers do likewise).
It is populated by characters who are unrealistic caricatures, which makes it hard to invest in anything they say or do, especially our do-no-wrong protagonists, Blip and his wife Sophia, who are portrayed as being nearly God-like in their wisdom and ways. Everything they say and do is presented as gospel and they are without a single flaw. Likewise, our bad guys (one is actually named Kiljoy) are presented as subhuman. The book even describes one of the bad guys as "an empty character in this adventure." Since the book's moral universe has virtually no nuance (and, ironically, no real desire to depict flawed heroes or sympathetic villains or -- actually -- no relatable humans at all), it comes across as unbearably preachy. (Even when our narrator confesses to having a crush on Sophia, he goes out of his way to assure us that "it is a harmless infatuation and not at all a covetous lust," as if such a thing might somehow make us less likely to empathize with him.)
This is exacerbated by prose that is precious, self-indulgent, overly elaborate and full of needless digressions and drawn-out descriptions. A character will frown, and the author will spend an entire paragraph and seven tortured similes explaining just how fast she did it. The author will decide to describe a dream, but must first spend page upon page upon page talking about the nature of dreams and how they come from and affect our minds and sense of self. It's an exercise in tedium just to get to the next plot point while navigating around the constant puns, dull exegeses of everything from cheese to dying, and pompous pontificating. This is made doubly ironic (and quadrupally annoying) by the fact that the book's central message (from the mouth of a character) is about "the idiocy and inadequacy of language" and how it "abstracts us from the real world."
For a book (and an author) who claims to believe such a thing, it is filled with a grossly indulgent use of the language to tell a story that would've been sharper, smarter, and more trenchant had it been told concisely and with authentic people populating the pages. Instead, it sprawls so grandiosely that it is less a story than it is a gluttonous, motionless mass that's too full of its own pap to do anything but proudly rub its own belly.