Book Reviews, Novels

Stanley Elkin’s the Franchiser (1976)

A few lines are spoken deep in the Franchiser where the course of events suddenly shift, the novel’s focus jolts away towards being more than just a self-conscious, slightly corny satire of the golden-arch homogenization of small-town-big-city America. Ben Flesh, Elkin’s hero and franchisee, is suddenly faced with an impending multiply-sclerotic powerlessness that bounds back and forth, grows and subsides through the rest of the novel — the scope of the novel no longer space wasted on been-there-done-that social commentary but deliriously depressing and impacting tragicomedy, well worth its place on McCaffery’s 20th-century best-of.

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