This is a novel that is deeply in love with philosophy, but acutely conscious of the inanities of human thinking and the bottomless pit of the aphorism. Iyer's protagonists – provincial academic philosophers who aspire to Nietzschean heights – are exemplars of Pessoa's definition of decadence: "total loss of unconsciousness". Relentlessly self-aware, they differ from each other only in the strategies they have adopted to cope with their perceived failures. 'Lars' anaesthetises himself with food, alcohol, and 'chav mags': W., his inseparable friend and foil, swinging between rage and despair, jabs and dodges and consoles himself with the thought that however inadequate he may be, his friend offers a horrible example of the further depths to which it is still possible to sink.
Meanwhile, in Lars's flat, the damp extends its empire, as though the whole world were beginning its return to a primal condition of wateriness. The disaster has already taken place…
In 'Spurious' Lars Iyer has managed a difficult trick: he has written a book that is intelligent and unconventional in form but eminently readable, serious yet funny, and not a sentence too long. Laurel and Hardy butt heads with Levinas and Blanchot, Kafka and Rosenzweig in a way that should seem arch but gives birth to a strange poignancy. I highly recommend the experience.
Paul Bowles, Not the Booker review