Saturday, July 17, 2004

David Gilbert

This Fall Bloomsbury will publish a novel by David Gilbert call The Normals, about folks who are chosen for their "normalness" to test all manner of potentially dangerous drugs and medical procedures which might later be used on not normal patients. It is as funny a book as I've read in years, deeply wonderfully funny like Don DeLillo's White Noise that is really about the stuff of our lives. Billy Schine is our narrator, a textbook normal, brilliant, perfectly formed, Harvard-educated, with no career other than somewhat permanent status as a "Temp". With other so-called normals he is bussed off to a "facility" for the testing of drugs which may or may not his behaviour or body. His editor Gillian Blake tells me the book has been a long time in the making and its subtle perfections bring a deep laughter and wonder from the reader which are the stuff of high literature. I must thank colleague Kathleen Johnson for bringing this book to my attention.

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