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The Dick Gibson Show

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  194 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Look who's on the "Dick Gibson Radio Show": Arnold the Memory Expert ("I've memorized the entire West Coast shoreline - except for cloud cover and fog banks"). Bernie Perk, the burning pharmacist. Henry Harper, the nine-year old orphan millionaire, terrified of being adopted. The woman whose life revolves around pierced lobes. An evil hypnotist. Swindlers. Con-men. And ...more
Paperback, 335 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 1971)
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66th out of 92 books — 39 voters
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Michael
Sep 13, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it
In 1970 Jerzy Kosinski published his novel Being There, a sarcastic critique of the media culture of the West. Its protagonist is Chauncey Gardiner, described as “a man without qualities”. As a servant in a mansion in which he has spent his entire life, Chauncey has learned about social interactions primarily through television. Although no one is quite sure what he means, his responses appear sage and meaningful. He becomes a respected advisor to governments and business. The point of the piece ...more
Krok Zero
Jul 03, 2010 Krok Zero rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-2010
I wrote a review but it got deleted :(
Neal Karlen
Mar 26, 2013 Neal Karlen rated it it was amazing
Stanley Elkin is perhaps the most dishonorably forgotten writer of the last 40 years. And The Dick Gibson Show is his masterpiece. Anyone who cares about the romantic midnight vagueries of late night radio; writing that plunges from the fabulist to the borscht belt funny to the cosmically maddening will all enjoy this tome.
Howard
Nov 13, 2015 Howard rated it it was ok
I happened to read a brief reference to this novel in a New Yorker article a couple of weeks ago so I picked it up. I confess I don't get the excellence of this book, which was nominated for the National Book Award back in 1972.

Dick Gibson is the radio name of a radio personality whose life we follow from the 1930's into the late 60s or early 70s. Although we know a few of his other radio names we never learn his birth name. He starts out working on small radio stations in the mid west serving h
...more
Jim Krotzman
Nov 18, 2015 Jim Krotzman rated it liked it
This book took me a couple of months to read. The first section was how the disk jockey, Dick Gibson, got his education in radio. The second part is about his show. He finally designed a show that was a talk show. This was new since the novel takes place from the 30s to the 60s. Parts are not understandable and parts seem to spell out the real kernel of the book. The character Behr-Bleibtreau, whom Dick Gibson, the protagonist seems to be afraid of, but I don't know why. Parts of the novel don't ...more
Djpars
Oct 20, 2011 Djpars rated it really liked it
This book is separated into three parts. The first part made me weep with envy; there is more imagination packed in word for word than in any other work I've ever read. The second part managed to maintain that same sense of adventure while narrowing it's scope. It kept me going. I said to my wife when I was halfway through this second part that if Elkin managed to keep his pace, this would be my favorite book of all time (for now). I didn't think he could do it, though, I said.

Unfortunately, I w
...more
Steve
Nov 27, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing
a novel published in 1970 that didn't even begin to imagine where talk radio would go. But still, as an understanding of what radio had done to the nation in the first 5 decades of its existence (and relating to the idea that everybody was the star of their own story, which they were happy to share with the world), this is pretty good stuff. And it's freaking hilarious. Elkin invented comic situations that lesser writers would have turned into whole novels, and then tosses them out there over ...more
Jeremiah
Jul 23, 2015 Jeremiah added it
Shelves: fiction
The most interesting thing about this novel for me is that we never learn Dick Gibson's real name, as he states that "Dick Gibson" is among many other on-air pseudonyms he adopts; thus rendering the novel as centered around a nameless character. This sort of malleable identity is reflected in the picaresque plot: Dick Gibson works here, there, fucks this person and that, receives calls on his show from all sorts of folk, etc. Elkin is a master stylist.
Gary
Feb 13, 2016 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reads like David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest" - and I am sure he read and assimilated Elkin's style.
This is one of the few books I've ever read that is genuinely hilarious and witheringly satirical.
Alan
Jul 13, 2014 Alan rated it really liked it
This was an increasingly surreal story about a talk radio host's life from the 30s until the 70s.(isn). I was never 100% sure if the various calls he received were real, or all in his mind (or both). It was dark, funny, and mostly unsettling, but overall, very hard to put down.
Andrew
Jun 25, 2007 Andrew rated it really liked it
some really hilarios stuff in here. Elkin is an absolute master of the verbless sentence, just chock full of well-decribed nouns.

There are great snatches of language here, but the itinerancy of the protagonist is not as well-worked as the cruising of the protagonist in Elkin's "Franchiser."

The movement of the character/ plot is actually kind of irrelevant to what I found to mine in the book: the absurd pleasures of language
Paul
May 13, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
Pretty great. Can't believe this managed to keep my attention for all its rambling and anecdotal tangents and et cetera and et cetera. It did get a bit exhausting at times, but the occasional closet drama and the constant humor was enough to make it compelling mostly all the way through. I'll keep reading Elkin for sure.
W.T.
Aug 31, 2007 W.T. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's nothing better than driving fast in the middle of the night and picking up radio stations from Nowhere, Kansas.
Debra Padula
Jul 19, 2014 Debra Padula rated it did not like it
Couldn't finish it. Almost unreadable. Only one person in our book group liked it but we think it was a pity yes. (Hi MB!)
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Stanley Lawrence Elkin was a Jewish American novelist, short story writer, and essayist. His extravagant, satirical fiction revolves around American consumerism, popular culture, and male-female relationships.

During his career, Elkin published ten novels, two volumes of novellas, two books of short stories, a collection of essays, and one (unproduced) screenplay. Elkin's work revolves about Americ
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