Books Lunch Date: The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg
posted by April 9 at 14:15 PMon
(A few times a week, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)
Who’s your date today? The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, a paperback original debut novel by Geoff Herbach
Where’d you go? Mia’s Off-Broadway Cafe
What’d you eat? The special, which was half a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a big bowl of pea soup ($5.25).
How was the food? Half and half. The ham and cheese sandwich was barely hot—the cheese had been melted a little bit. The soup, though, was good, with chunks of apple-chicken sausage and actual, real pieces of apple garnishing the bowl. I will definitely go back, though, if just to try the Korean Cheesesteak sandwich, which looks really good, and is probably a decent representative sample of Mia’s sandwich counter/pan-Asian cuisine schizophrenia.
What does your date say about itself? It’s a novel composed from letters, journals, and the transcribed answers—and only the answers—from a conversation between a therapist and the main character, T. Rimberg, who really wants to kill himself. The letters are suicide notes, written to Jesus, T.’s father, and various other people in his life. Heather McElhatton, who I’ve never heard of before, says on the back of the book that “It’s a tasty dark treat, inspiring the reader to suck on every last hilarious morsel.”
Is there a representative quote?
I’m a Marxist! What do you think about that, you yuppie bullshitter? A naked Marxist!
Yes. What better way to celebrate the life and works of Karl Marx than to get totally naked at a staff meeting?”
Will you two end up in bed together? Yes, I think we will. The misanthropic humor, thus far, reminds me of Home Land, by Sam Lipsyte, which was one of the funniest novels I’ve ever read. There’s a good interpretation of the Herbie the Love Bug movies as being about loneliness that I really liked in the first few pages. But the book’s on probation, because it’s a 300-page novel told almost entirely in suicide notes and one-sided interviews, and that shit can get really old really fast.