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Monster Stalks NYC When a local drunk is mugged near the toxic Gowanus Canal by "a hulking, hairy beast who smells really bad," Hank Kalabander thinks nothing of blaming the assault on the legendary Bigfoot. His sardonic crime blotter for The Hornet, a local Brooklyn rag, often gleefully recounts the tragedies that befall the borough's dimmer residents. But when an upstart reporter from The Eagle, a tabloid paper, lifts his piece and implicates Bigfoot in two more attacks, the crimes become local news fodder and the hunt for the "Gowanus Beast" takes off. Pretty soon the G.B. is to blame for everything from murder and robberies to playground scuffles and a pie's disappearance--and neighborhood watch patrols have taken to the streets. Alarmed by the populace's response, Hank decides it's his responsibility to disprove the existence of this menacing beast and, with the help of an old carny colleague, put an end to the growing hysteria. In The Blow-off, acclaimed writer Jim Knipfel has crafted an astoundingly funny send-up of our current times--an intoxicating blend of sharp cultural references, wildly comical scenes, discerning commentary, and unforgettable characters.
Meet Roscoe Baragon-crack reporter at a major (well, maybe not that major) metropolitan newspaper. Baragon covers what is affectionately called the Kook Beat-where the loonies call and tell him in meticulously deranged detail what it's like to live in their bizarre and lonely world. Lately Baragon's been writing stories about voodoo curses and alien abductions; about fungus-riddled satellites falling to earth and thefts of plumbing fixtures from SRO hotels by strange aquatic-looking creatures. Not exactly New York Times material. Maybe it's the radioactive corpse that puts him over the edge. Or maybe it's the guy who claims to have been kidnapped by the state of Alaska! But Baragon is now convinced that a vast conspiracy is under way that could take the whole city down-something so deeply strange that it could be straight out of one of the old Japanese monster movies that he watches every night before he goes to sleep. But stuff like this only happens in the movies. Right? The Buzzing marks the fictional debut of the acclaimed author of Slackjaw. It is a novel of deep paranoia and startling originality. And it could certainly never happen. Right? Right? From the Trade Paperback edition.
It wasn't until he was in his early twenties that doctors discovered that Jim Knipfel's nearsightedness was the result of an untreatable rare genetic eye disease known as retinitis pigmentosa, which, they said, would leave him blind within a few short years.
Jim Knipfel's acerbic, twisted fables on the perils of naivete, greed, gullibility, arrogance, and our reliance on first impressions.
Wally Philco is a gentle, midlevel insurance industry operative living with his wife, Margie, in Brooklyn. In the years since those terrible events took place in Tupelo, Mississippi, though, the world -- and Brooklyn, too -- has become a very different place. Nobody's sure exactly what happened on the day now known as Horribleness Day, but it became pretty clear afterward that the Australians were involved somehow. Long after all the initial craziness has petered out, the Horribleness is still being used as an excuse for everything, from insomnia and lower back pain to joblessness, bank robbery, higher taxes, drunk driving, and murder. Likewise, everything from icy sidewalks to earthquakes to casino bus accidents is being cited as the work of terrorists. Now it's every Mutual Citizen's job to keep an eye on his neighbor and to report anything amiss. Wally's neighbor, Whit Chambers, has been busy practically setting a world record for turning in suspicious characters and Unmutuals to the local authorities and, in fact, Whit's had his eye and his telescope trained on Wally for some time now. When Wally finally snaps, he finds refuge with the Unpluggers, an underground movement fighting for just a few minutes of peace and quiet. With a cast of Dickensian characters, from stroller-wielding Brooklyn mothers to former Kennedy spooks and Norwegian cowboys, Jim Knipfel'sUnplugging Philcois a wildly funny look at our life and times, filled with sharp cultural references and vivid, witty prose that testifies to a dangerously perceptive mind behind the madness.
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