Among the offerings: a musicological essay that extracts preposterous biographical information from an old telephone bill of Stravinsky's; a literary history of the "age of Niven" that analyzes books by movie actors; and a page from Mrs. "The Death of Bob's Bob House" was one of the strangest and funniest things I have read in quite some time.
Solzhenitsyn's daybook that records such big events as taking Al's old Siberia clothes to the Fire Department rummage sale. He does not always connect, but when he does, Frazier can smack that puppy out of the ballpark.
("In today's fast-moving, transient, rootless society, where people meet and make love and part without ever really touching, the relationship every guy already has with his own mother is too valuable to ignore.
Here is a grown, experienced, loving woman...") A collection of Ian Frazier's New Yorker pieces from the 1970s and '80s, it's a tremendous book.
Frazier's humor is reminiscent of fellow New Yorker contributor Donald Barthelme's, but is generally less philosophical and more slapstick. Ian Frazier's "Dating Your Mom," despite its rather disturbing title, is an unparalleled collection of the author's early writings, most or all of which appeared in "The New Yorker." The book reels from essays reviewing the Bloomsbury Group's appearance at the Apollo Theatre to the delightful speculation on what kind of an airline pilot Samuel Beckett would have been.Although Frazier stumbles occasionally--one or two of the essays are rather banal--the overall effect is superb.