Oedipus Got Off Easy

She collapsed Christmas. She made crazy kimonos. Thanks, Mom, for everything!

Ulrike Schamoni

Most likely, you'll forgive Antrim these minor transgressions. In The Afterlife he emerges a most likable guy, all the more so because he doesn't seem too interested in being likable. Along with grievances rendered without self-pity, Antrim fills his book with revelations—not confessions; somehow he makes the distinction felt—of his own pettiness, meanness, and hysteria, this last quality described without the burlesque, I'm-so-crazy exclamation points employed by less talented nutcases. Working in a genre that his earlier, more experimental work would seem to shun, he has come up with a refined, reflective memoir that one can read without embarrassment in public. His mother—ever a practitioner of the outrageous and inexplicable display—would not have been proud.

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