I think you can interpret this novel in so many ways. It is excitingly original, which is wonderful… but it is also comically long. At just over 700 pages it marks the longest novel I have read and it felt about 200 pages too indulgent. If I were to remove an element perhaps the Mudd and Molloy stuff would go (I just don’t think the juice was worth the squeeze there).
To quote Antkind: ‘I don’t know what the audience would be for a book outlining a non-existent film.’
The book is about a three month long film, and the main characters attempts to both remember and recreate it. It’s an immersive experience and I found the setup to be wonderfully enjoyable. The middle was a bit more directionless. False starts and tangents aplenty. Kaufman pokes fun at himself via the film critic narrator (sort of endlessly. It’s a bit too heavy with self-deprecation) while praising Judd Apatow in comparison.
Antkind is funny, farcical, insane and dense. Sometimes I was questioning whether Kaufman was inventing a concept or whether it was actually real. One small gripe for example (perhaps one of you / thon that have read the novel can answer?), if Barassini was partially responsible for the invention of Braino in 2006 (approx.) then how could Abbitha journey back to 1983 and offer the story of Trunks to Barbosae at that time? 1983 was pre Braino, right? (Answer in the comments!) This single question should give you some indication of the level of detail in the book, and perhaps some of the madness.
I liked the ending and I’m really glad I did. I have my own interpretation of it, which I don’t need to put here, and I’m sure you’ll have yours. I liked the comparison of people being on a coach bus in transit. I enjoyed Calcium. I hope Jim Carrey gets a bicycle (in joke). If you’re receptive to this piece of art you might just become enveloped by it.
I will conclude with another quote from Antkind: ‘Is it a masterwork? Is it a sham? Am I being enlightened, or am I being conned? It is, it occurs to me, nothing more and nothing less than I bring to it.’