How about the following as an ingredient list for a comic novel?
1) An philosophical analysis of subjectivity as intersubjectivity (relation to Other)
2) A buddy tale
3) A compendium of aggressively-nasty-as-funny comedic shtick
Not a likely juxtaposition, perhaps; but then the successful close association of contrasts is the essence of many a tasty recipe. Lars Iyer has achieved just such an inventive and rewarding blend in his novel “Spurious,” which gives us the fraught friendship of two self-described “victims” of literature. The notion of a conjunction of contrasts characterizes the reader’s response as well; in this case it's laughing and thinking, simultaneously, an effect often sought but seldom as successfully realized as in "Spurious". As we read and laugh we sometimes feel as though we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. We are thereby subtly drawn into the web woven by the much-put-upon narrator, who reveals himself, not directly, but through the relentless mediation of his descriptions of his friend “W.” The neologism “frenemies” might well have been invented to describe their relation to each other, but with a decided emphasis on the first syllable. We listen in and laugh as the two friends discover each other through the Other, sharing the miseries of frustrated hopes and encroaching horizons.
I'll conclude with own small exotic ingredient, a pinch of Musical Comedy lore. Reading “Spurious” we happily learn anew the truth Vera Charles confirms for Auntie Mame (talk about comedic shtick!) , “Who else but a bosom buddy will tell you the whole stinking truth?”
Steve Pantani, Not the Booker review