22 thoughts on “The Egotist – Philip Fracassi

  1. BOOK ONE W. BUHNER

    “I make up stuff to make it sound better than it is, and forget things that don’t matter.”

    Narrator and reviewer, alike?
    Hey, arrogance is in the act of writing this, unnecessarily explaining you are arrogant, a twenty-something man starting his life story at that point, picking-up a forty-something woman in a Latte bar after telling her that women in general are only needed for childbirth… and since when was Penthouse porn and who would want to create a literary protagonist or narrator with a favourite composer as Tchaikovsky?
    A Gass of a start. But I’ve left things out and changed others.

  2. BOOK TWO INDUSTRY

    “I realize that if I’m going to succeed in this hegemonic world of Corporate America, I am going to have to learn some humility and play by the rules.”

    We follow W. Buhner in his post-caddie attempts to transcend the budding Ligottian Corporate Horror and White House Porn. Selling out, he submits to a job interview from “a scary plastic boy”, flirts with Karen or Sharon, shares a P.O. Box scam with his friend…

    “Donnie was standing at his station amongst the line of cashiers at the bookstore, ringing up some punk kid’s horror book, not really overly agitated by anything going on around him – with the exception of the store’s music system, which was currently piping Swan Lake throughout the store, and he hated Swan Lake.”

    Seems appropriate to fully quote that in view of what Fricassee was due to start writing in the late Twenty-Tensies. “The Cooperation of the Unnamed” …. and in view of the “redundant notes” of Swan Lake’s composer, already factored into some ‘pee-paranoiac’ gestalt of literature stemming from this witty book so far. And the ethics of duplication…

    “— like Stephen King, who lives in some bizarre home in Maine of all places. Who the hell’s scared of Maine? You know his kids are creepy.”

  3. BOOK THREE WAR

    The Apocalyptic Emotion

    “‘Who’s keeping track of everything?’ I shout. I’m so overwhelmed . . . so tired. I can’t keep it up, I can’t keep track. I can’t keep counting.”
    “There’s too much . . . too much.”
    “I shut my eyes tight and think about the blue sky, or a piece of white paper, or the pure simplicity of a glowing triangle with its clear, pointing indication that only says up or down – depending on which floor I need to go to.”

    I home in on the above three quotes (among many others) from this first brief section of BOOK THREE as it seems to me to be a prophetic apotheosis – in itself an example of what this narrative outburst is describing! – a prophetic apotheosis (from when it was written about twenty years ago) of todays’s vastly increased inundation of information and communication, fake news and fake fake news, ad absurdum. You and me.
    Just change ‘emotion’ above to ‘emoticon’ as I initially misread it to be!

  4. BOOK THREE (rest of)

    “Friends can certainly be burdensome.”

    “I have rarely felt such power, and it’s usually only after tearing down another individual.”

    “Freedom is choiceless, tasteless, and baseless. It has no value, and it is incomprehensible. Do not take it for granted, never forget it exists. Most importantly, always keep one good eye on what it’s doing, because you never know where or with whom its loyalties will ultimately lie . . . silky bitch.”

    “I laugh in the face of my employer, I ride the highest crescendo of a thousand violins, each playing Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” on strings of silver, their stinging notes shredding the thin paper-like walls of the brotherhood, this facade. I am invincible!”

    “….and I’d rather just live in the fantasy world that all of these idiots aren’t really people at all, but ficticious names who have emerged from the pure earth to send us encouragement, after which they sink back down into their dirty depths. It’s silly, I know.”

    Life is like. War, lonely and tired, like WB’s Uncle ‘Vietnam veteran’ Fredo….or it’s like WB’s? I cannot resist tracing WB’s choice of his own set of Austerine paths, tracing it via some of the actual words he uses. Quotes, that is, from words written by WB in an era twenty years ago as political correctness took reign and rein, waiting for a Trump to dispel it? Or to reconfirm a country’s gun laws? Or a Rameau’s Nephew like WB, to laugh at it all and exploit. Even his friend. ha ha ha.
    I think this is shaping up to be another Diderot. He at least forgave me for quoting so much from his books.

  5. BOOK FOUR FAMILY

    “There is no known explanation for this mysterious interval in literary time.”

    I cannot explain how editorialised I now feel. Lifted and let down at the same time. WB once mentioned (earlier quoted by me) a “silky bitch”, now he meets two of them in real life, one girl with a silky sleek bitch of a swanky car, in contiguity with his disowned Dad in a disowned family, then another girl in equal but different contiguity with his disowned family (disowned in favour of self as ‘me’.) Yes, I feel let down and lifted by turns. “Curiosity peaked” or curiosity piqued? Straw-maker, snip ‘n’ save (in earlier PART) and a fracrazy PC writing of an anti-PC hero, who spent his youth watching whatever films came up in his Dad’s cinema, yes whatever films! And then we meet his two crazy sleek bitches. Not sure the ‘me’ we meet – for whom WB told us he was devoting his life to the exclusion of all else – is the same narrative ‘me’ whom we are due to follow in the trailered ensuing PARTS? This book – or, rather, its narrative – is a bit of a two-timing bitch in itself, I suggest. Don’t trust it a sneaky inch. Piqued. 4 3 2 1.

  6. BOOK FIVE INTERLUDES

    “It feels good to be alone. When I’m forced to work, I’m surrounded constantly by people. Touching me, patting me, talking to me. It’s disgusting. It’s these times I enjoy the best, these times when I’m secluded from the outside world. My curtains are drawn, the lights are dim, and it’s so very quiet.”

    “It’s my belief that society has to be addicted to something to survive. If it’s not money, it’s murder. If it’s not cigarettes, it’s rape.”

    “John Liggins is a lawyer, and tonight he is me, and I am he.”

    People can’t touch, can’t pat you, these days.
    Which 4321 WB path are we really on? The sociopathic one with ‘dimestore whores’. And using the expression “fratboy symbol”. A WB worrying about annoying his apartment neighbours. I recognise a time when PC must have written all this – when one COULD escape the fake social media of the world that was only then in the bud, if at all – and the obsessions of virtue signalling did not prevail. Still it was an incipient, role playing rifeness, but images were in the look (combed or caveman) when, say, in a bar not when on Twitter.
    And this PART’s closing scene with statue sister should go down in literary history. Really.

  7. BOOK SIX PARANOIA

    “, I sense the Humungous is near. Therefore, I must write with the greatest speed because I know that at any moment, my next word could be my last.”

    Ending amid a nonsense of a billion sentences? Except these sentences are not nonsense nor even useless, but a symptom of that pee-paranoia I mentioned in this review before (he can’t pee here in front of his newly deprisoned Donnie Lemus scammy cohortationer).

    “I wonder what John Liggins would think of old Lemus, and I begin to ponder bringing the two of them together.”

    The Humungous here is described in the most stirring terms as what now seems symptomatic of our world today, twenty years after this book was written

    Then WB has an unannounced dream, at first geared as reality, a dream infiltrated into or rejected straight out of TEST PATTERNS (a simultaneous reading and review I happen to be real-timing here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2018/01/27/test-patterns/), a dream like a certain form of SF fiction with violent green-horned things and flying-saucers and human cohortationers, not the more realistic, nail-biting “horror novel” P. fra Cassi himself is now probably in the process of writing. He is the One.

    This stuff also makes me, like WB, want to be me and me only. It’s good for the Egotist side of me forging a gestalt from my own brain where you all live but perhaps not good for my Id-amenability to those social and creative repressions otherwise oozing inside to get me.
    But better Fowles’ Nemo than either Id or Ego, I suggest.

  8. BOOK SEVEN ARRIVALS
    BOOK EIGHT BODY

    “My libido is swarming like African bees, and the honey is dripping between us.”

    “It’s the kind of rubbish dumb people just might buy.”

    I am beginning to know more about how WB ticks, but I remain suspicious, not about his wayward advances to women and them to him, nor suspicious about his attitude to Lemus whose ‘crap’ book about prison can be exploited, WB thinks, for the masses – as fiction. Also the fracas with his sister and sister’s boy friend, a sort of jealousy on WB’s part, and I can follow the realistic audit trail – via some very interesting thoughts on the concept of pain and of childbirth – leading to his hospitalisation after the sister’s boy friend stabs him. But to be hung upside down in the hospital so his wounds will heal better! Do they REALLY do that in hospitals, I ask myself? Something still going on that makes me suspicious.

    “and frisbees are all secondary to pain.”

    “think birth is a kind of work pain. The same kind of pain a person would feel if they had been hauling cement in a wheelbarrow”

    “If the child only knew what lay ahead of it, I’m quite sure the shock of the entire experience would utterly stop its peanut-sized little heart.”

    “I am that one. I stand alone.”

    Not really seen the word ONE before in ALONE, but it does make sense that it should be so. And Paul McC wrote Dear Prudence in the White Album for Mia Farrow’s sister. But that has no connection with this novel, other than that there is a passing reference in it to the White Album.

  9. BOOK NINE MONEY

    “So now I’m crippled, bored, and broke. Horray for me.”

    Lemus makes money with the crap book. Money runs the world, WB suddenly complains to us. Chip on the shoulder, he has spent two years shelf stacking. Did you know that? Hope that is not a spoiler? It is for me a bit of a spoiler. Even the expression “stack-friendly” is ironic. And WB, if he is to be believed, is fast becoming the ultimate spiteful hypocrite. A spite that may lead to mischief that in itself may one day allow him to write his own crap prison book! Thinking aloud.
    A description of Aisles in a supermarket is another one for the annals of literary history. An Aisle is an Isle, too, that Aloneness, Oneness…

    “Enjoy your stay on Planet Death spooky green thing!”

    “It is a dark, dark place within a dark, dark world.”

  10. Pingback: W. Buhner – WNP Barbellion | DES LEWIS’ GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWS

  11. BOOK TEN SURRENDER (first half)
    Black Bring It On

    “Was this W. Buhner, did I live at such-and-such address, was I the son of such-and-such?”

    A good question, which WB 4321 path are we on? Hanging upside down? An Ego that is forged on an Altar not an Anvil? A demon or angel? He receives seemingly devastating news, changing emotions as that news seems to crystallise into fact, ups and downs, and deepening spites, a Joycean epiphany that involves the characters so far named in this write-of-passage called a life. A gestalt of writers: Denis Diderot, William Gass, Paul Auster, WNP Barbellion and others I have not yet identified, but above all himself (as a future acclaimed horror writer?)

    “There are plots against it, dark thrusts of treachery which will disrupt its sweet path with their own, secretive agenda.”

    “To replace his ego with loss?”

    “and other plots to unfold.”

  12. D4E01648-DD8B-4F0D-AB7A-45CE1D8D3847BOOK TEN (second half)
    Conversations and Loneliness The Tango

    “I call it a ficticious head because it is impossible for anyone to ever speak the real truth, to tell the real story.”

    If only we had read this novel when it was first published, we may have heeded its implicit warnings by dint of its ficvicious counterintuition and avoided today’s convulsions, including the latest one this week in America. Trump himself. Even Brexit as a spasm of rage. AB20981C-5E4A-4B82-9207-E85C1465CD4AAs we may have done if we had also read Omensetter’s Luck by Gass. We may have been able to inherit the Altar Ego not the Anvil One and transcended the contiguity of the opposing swans in ballet. (Despite the trite melodies.)
    And we may have addressed the interface of Gestalt and Egostalt.
    The bodily cross-rhythms of dancing the tango. (No tangos in Tchaikovsky?)
    Maybe it is not too late.

    “One mind thinks the greatest of all, and time spent developing the thoughts of one mind is time spent very well.”

    “You must create your own happiness by spending your life destroying so many others, and you must consider yourself honest only once you have mastered the lie.”

  13. BOOK ELEVEN REVENGE
    BOOK TWELVE HUMOR

    “I am a giant freak dog.”

    From the Urban Cruiser Pilgrimage to talk of pragmatics about death, WB finances the child in the sororal vessel. The sororal catalyst. Did I mention Mia Farrow’s sister earlier in this review and now Rose is short for Rosemary as ignited by Blake? Think about it. Exactly what or who is WB effectively financing with his late father’s money? I shock myself sometimes. As WB does, as WNPB does, as Stephen Dedalus does. And the hero of 4321.
    A gun and a cabal and a warehouse fire to shorten the life of this book, a shortening now thwarted by this electronic version 20 years later! And now me, with this review, perhaps I become part of that audit trail, of the plot itself? At least I fear that I am drawn into some horror plot, as it was due to turn out? Part of the gestalt working out at last. Yet saying all that in public here makes me fear too that I may be even more an egotist than WB! Actually, I thought the book ended with the tenth book or PART. A different sort of shortening! With the last two books being just aberration – or subterfuge? If it had ended with the tenth book, the shortened novel might now be a literary standard taught in all schools, as perhaps it should be, even now.

    “I think it might be best if we decide right here and now who’s going to win and who’s going to lose. It might spare a lot of bloodshed and save us all a lot of time,”

    “I sit inside my head and listen to all the voices,”

    end

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