This isn’t to say that the characters in The Filthy Marauders aren’t memorable. If anything the opposite is true; Freville’s gift seems to lie in his ability to craft flesh-and-blood eccentrics with voices that are all their own. It is only too disappointing that he has more enthusiasm for their suffering than he does for their redemption.
Despite being a novel that deals with serious issues plaguing American society, it gives the impression that one is reading a lighter text because the author uses humor so well. That’s partly because the humor embedded within the title The Eggplant Curse and the Warp Zone anchors the text. The characters the narrator seems to make fun of are never turned into buffoons, dehumanized but respected for their humanity. This allows the reader to have unwavering empathy with the central character.
Flynn’s attention to detail in describing Sizemore’s various meetings and situations is what makes the story so believable and hilarious. Always the gentleman (“I’d learned through osmosis from my father that you always compliment somebody before you turn them down”), he gets what he wants with a smile. It’s a lesson in how to conduct yourself in the most difficult situations with the most persuasive people. There are very few revered institutions and American ideals that are left unscathed by Flynn, and rightfully so.
Not only does this book deliver 432 pages of compressed and valuable entertainment, it releases a multitude of ready responses that if rehearsed well, will provide a source of heavy artillery for any form of social intercourse within societies’ boundaries. This is also a vernacular most Australians accept as dinkum.
A book on humor in this digital age is always welcome and the healing power of humor, play, and mental work shines in this book. The puns are clever, silly and desperate. They obviously are the efforts of a playful intelligent quirky minds. The collection of definitions and one-liners will be trove for those who are often engaged in social media. The narratives, however, are the book’s tour de force. In these stories, there is a slow buildup to the punch-line which repays the reader’s attention by giving hearty laugh or a cringing groan.