The End of the World Might Not Have Taken Place
by Patrik Ourednik
Dalkey Archive Press, 2020
The end of the world is the least of the problems facing Gaspard Boisvert, erstwhile advisor to “the stupidest American president in history,” when he discovers that he may share the genes of a certain, infamous Austrian corporal, thanks to a dalliance on the part of his grandmother during the First World War.
Around the hapless Gaspard’s descent into amnesia and anti-social rebellion, an obsessive-compulsive narrator assembles 111 pithy chapters linked by the ultimate theme of all: the coming apocalypse. In this deadpan anti-novel, statistics and historical data are marshaled, and the divagations range over subjects as various as the history of religions, Viagra, vegetarianism and dietary taboos, aerial bombing, the Maltese national anthem, categories of suicide, varieties of stupidity, bathtubs, the critical density of the universe, pork and pigmen, and the etymology of the name Adolf.