Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
It's Sunday night, at this point. All of our scholarly readers, those with the tiny eyeglasses and with their expensive taste in furniture, have all demolished the fat and costly New York Times Sunday edition, read it front-to-back and up-and-down. They know more about the failing auto industry than they even care to. They may have looked at the photo of President Bush getting shoes thrown at him while meeting with the Iraqi prime minister and used their intellect to not get massively depressed about the state of all American matters.
All of us regular people spent a half an hour flipping through the Best Buy circular, reading the funnies and getting the latest from Major League baseball's winter meetings, even though, by the time we did that, there was a whole new day's worth of news out there. Newspapers are hurting, but sitting down on a Sunday morning with that bundle of newsprint still feels good, like something that we're meant to do on Sunday's - relax with ourselves and just enjoy some shred of leisure. Deb Olin Unferth, a writer who also teaches the craft at the University of Kansas, has been a regular contributor to McSweeney's - a place where inventive writing lives and dines - and her debut novel Vacation is a journey for a man who's been slighted. It's odd and straight-forward, travels in tangents and straight lines.
Olin Unferth visited the studio on the same day as Noah and the Whale. McSweeney's editor Eli Horowitz was with her that afternoon, driving her around the Midwest in a rental car from reading to reading and Olin Unferth passed the time by chatting up the UK band's manager and tour manager between sips of a Diet Coke. The exchange was awkward, but that's the way writers can be sometimes as the printed words are kinder. She's friendly and warm and chipper and her writing conveys that same feeling as the quirky bits of personality pop out and into 3-D. A goofy line like, "Are you a tourist? No, I'm just here to check my e-mail," is so brilliant and nonchalant in the way that electronic messaging has taken over our lives and every thought. Enjoy the rest of your day of rest with some words, read to you by Deb Olin Unferth, hopped up on Diet Coke.
This here is a blurb thing about the book, "Myers, a Brooklyn man, leaves his wife and goes off in search of the man who he believes is responsible for the desolution of his marriage. Myers tracks the man to Nicaragua and then follows him across the country. With deadpan humor and skewed wordplay, Deb Olin Unferth weaves a mystery of hope and heartbreak."