Book Review: Off the Bookshelf

David Grand

Off the Bookshelf

Louse: A Novel

by David Grand

Harvest Books, 272 pp., $13 (paper)

And you think your job sucks. Meet Herman Q. Louse, personal valet and indentured servant to a drug-addicted, hyperphobic loon named Poppy who more than slightly resembles Howard Hughes. Poppy commands a kingdom of casinos; those who lose to the house usually end up serving him in some way or another. Louse is superbly obedient and unquestioning. His only purpose is to kowtow to his master. But things aren't running as smoothly in Poppy Land as they once had. A conspiracy is brewing, and Louse finds himself alternately drawn into it and protecting Poppy from its effects. In many ways, Louse will remind you of Kafka, Orwell, and Vonnegut. Actually, it's hard enough to tell what's really happening from the point of view of any of the characters. Now that's corporate mentality.

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