by Doug Harris
Description (from the publisher)
Marginalized and alienated, perennial fuck-up Lee Goodstone is a resounding zero: a small-time hash-dealing slacker with no ambition about where his life isn’t going. One morning, Honey, his best friend’s girlfriend, inexplicably jumps into bed with him. Then another friend, Henry, is accused of kidnapping a teenaged girl no one knew he was seeing. Lee gets embroiled in the mêlée, finds himself making flip remarks to the media, and his mediocre existence officially spirals out of control.
Told in the second person, YOU comma Idiot is a cringeworthy, laugh-out-loud flight on the wings of the protagonist. The roller-coaster ride of a plot leads at breakneck speed to places even Lee can’t anticipate.
What the Tiny Monkey thinks
Full disclosure time; I am a publicist for Goose Lane. This is a Goose Lane product. Ergo, you cannot possibly trust my opinion. But if you do, my opinion is that not only does Goose Lane release some of the best literature this country is capable of (see: this year's wholly remarkable quartet of The Town that Drowned, The Time We All Went Marching, Tide Road, and Kalila), but last year's YOU comma Idiot is one of the best, and my favourite novel of 2010 (only reviewing on the blog now to avoid charges of favouritism and conflict of interest). Writing in the second person, a format only off-putting for the first paragraph, Harris' tale of a low-level drug dealer eking out his existence in Montreal by doing as little as humanly possible is a treat on every level. His dialogue is the highlight, as crunchy as Elmore Leonard and quick-witted as Nick Hornby, but his empathy for character and his sharpness in motivation and plotting keeps the novel humming. So sure of itself, so fleet-footed yet grounded, it is hard to believe this is a debut novel. It's as entertaining as anything out there, better written than most, and it's lack of presence on major awards lists is a devastating oversight by people who cannot comprehend that just because it's funny, that doesn't mean it's undeserving of attention.