The Catastrophist (Book - Lawrence Douglas)
Daniel Wellington, the manic, clueless narrator of Lawrence Douglas’ highly amusing debut, The Catastrophist, is a case study in male neurosis. A young art history professor, Daniel finds out that his wife, R., is pregnant, and, like the arrested adolescent he is, promptly begins sabotaging his happy marriage and flourishing career. He tries to start an affair, sends a filthy e-mail to a flirtatious former student, lies to a newspaper reporter (he claims he’s the child of Holocaust survivors), and takes up shoplifting. That we enjoy the company of this walking disaster is a tribute to Douglas’ witty prose; that we love R. — practical, attractive, and shrewd — can be chalked up to the author’s bedrock understanding of what constitutes an appealing human being.