Lee's Reviews > Incidents of Egotourism in the Temporary World

Incidents of Egotourism in the Temporary World by Lee Klein
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's review
Aug 01, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: things-i-have-stuff-in
Recommended for: smelly freaks
Read in May, 2004

Of the 250 copies of the first and only print run of this book I wrote long ago, THREE are now available on Amazon for <$4.

Here's the blurb on the back from a literary agent: "I tried to read this -- I really did. I couldn't find one commercial paragraph that would appeal to a major NY house. In fact, I couldn't find a plot, character development, or a story. In my opinion, it is terribly overwritten -- but overwritten in a way that makes us want to frame a page on the wall because I can't believe anyone could overwrite with such skill for an entire book. Worse than that, I couldn't find a character to latch onto that made me want to continue reading through all this plot-less prose."

Here's an interview from back then about the book and other stuff.
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01/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by MJ (last edited Oct 27, 2011 11:02AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

MJ Nicholls You're the only writer on here who's given his own work four stars, not the usual five. I find that pleasingly honest somehow. And the quote, of course, draws me towards it even more. Plus it's still in print on Amazon UK.

message 2: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee For a long time I'd given it three stars but decided to knock my estimation up a notch . . . it's important to leave room to grow artistically, especially in terms of all-important stars.

message 3: by knig (new)

knig How could the literary agent have overlooked your mom: definitely a character to latch onto and continue reading. Especially like her take on ravioli. And Crow (whoever he be) was right: you definitely write like a Beat. And one more thing (this one is bad): all that quarter century angst and railing against the establishment? It doesn't go away. It will resurface, second wave, midlife, again. so, did you make it to cuzco?

message 4: by Lee (last edited Oct 28, 2011 05:44AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee The narrator is a character, too. So is the restlessness etc. Crow's the one who writes like a Beat: "Crow’s got to stop trying to write like a Beat poet. I mean, he’s a systems analyst. But he thinks it’s cool to write all non-business notes in abbreviated Princified spellings with stutter-stepping syntax like UR2(good)2BTRU." The narrator expresses himself like a quasiautomythologizing semi-delusional ecstatic who thinks himself maybe a little bit descended from Kerouac who thought himself desscended from Proust, so there's a whiff of that, yeah. The author (ie, me) made it to Cuzco in 2009 the old-fashioned way, on a 10-day vacation that made use of an airplane or two. I'm not sure what happened to the Egotourist/narrator after the novel ends, but the author back then made it as far as Guatemala City, traveling by land from Austin before turning back to live an American life. Can't wait for a mid-life crisis. I hope it manifests as skydiving or ballooning. At this point getting a fancier road bike would probably suffice.

message 5: by knig (new)

knig Well, if you insist on having a plebeian midlife crisis, it won’t be skydiving or ballooning; fact. The road bike though is a dead cert. BUT, you don’t just rise one morning and head to the local dealer: oh no,no,no,no. Three things need to happen, jointly and severally, a sort of alignment, like when the moon is the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, before you can feel ready to get your bike. First, you will need to grow a paunch. This is an absolute prerequisite. Second, you must achieve a perfectly bald pate which you can decorate with overly long side hair strands, swept across the apex of your noggin. Finally, you must now stare in the mirror with undisguised self admiration, and reiterate those youthful slogans ‘UR2(good)2BTRU’, because no woman (or man?) can resist you. Especially not after you get the bike. Now, you see, you are ready to finally get the bike. This, I have seen many times.

Too bad though the alphabet city dream didn’t come true.

message 6: by Lee (last edited Oct 28, 2011 02:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee I've already got #1, will never be #2 unless I shave what I got on top, and #3 I repeat thrice daily while applying gobs of Kiehl's moisturizer.

Here are apropos lyrics by Long Fin Killie, with an M.E.S. cameo:

"The Heads of Dead Surfers"

A mid-life Adonis,
A god-like forty year-old
Clear skin, clear head
Clear smile, dead style
Designer beach clothes
A little bit of a paunch.

This beach-boy Achilles,
A former leading light of radio
Drowned in suntan lotion
Makes a bold declaration:

"We drove the Moors back into the sea and now we ride their waves!"

And a little bit of something about the positive vibes of the sea--
"I feel at one with the waves!"

He said: "Let's get a Big Mac, tune into happening sounds, check out the chicks on the beach and chill out,
Chill out,
Chill out."

"We all crawled out of the sea"--and then he winked--"didn't we?"

"We drove the Moors back into the sea and now we ride their waves!"

(Mark E. Smith)

Bountiful in the cities...
I am the fire in your lungs
I am the fire in the dead loins
I am the fire in the airwaves


Also see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmbOkS...

message 7: by knig (new)

knig Phwoar! But you are perfect.Ly ready for that road bike. Shame about the full head of hair though, can you compensate with something else? Anything ? Like


And how had I never heard of Long Fin Killie? (Is it because they disbanded 15 years ago and apparently never got enough airtime?) Still, they’re (were) great. So thanks.

I have one for the road too: how COULD you omit this:


(or is it too mainstream?)

message 8: by Goatville9 (new)

Goatville9 I found Crowley to be an intriguing character who can be easily misunderstood yet has depth and passion.

message 9: by Alex (new)

Alex Looking forward to reading this soon! Thank you.

message 10: by M. (new) - rated it 5 stars

M. Sarki "Arguments in Favor of a Generally Unpopular Belief" pages 75-84 from Incidents of Egotourism in the Temporary World by Lee Klein is one of the very best rants ever written by man. I am envious of Klein's talent for making his rant not only clear but so enjoyable to read and to think about afterwards. The entire piece was masterly written and one I will certainly attempt to beat with one of my very own rants to come. And it is, or may be, highly unlikely I will succeed.

message 11: by Geoffrey (new)

Geoffrey Fox Great blurb!

message 12: by Ted (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ted My autographed copy arrived today! It looks very interesting, Lee. The artwork is fabulous.

Unfortunately I must wait for a while, trying to work through some of the 11 books that I'm currently reading. (It occupies an honored place on my closest bookshelf, between Gorky Park and Knockemstiff.)

message 13: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee Cool that you got one -- there aren't so many in existence -- is it inscribed to someone? It's always fun to know which friends of mine sold it off!

message 14: by Ted (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ted Lee wrote: "Cool that you got one -- there aren't so many in existence -- is it inscribed to someone? It's always fun to know which friends of mine sold it off!"

No, no name but yours. Supposedly used, but it sure looks almost new.

message 15: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee Ted wrote: "Lee wrote: "Cool that you got one -- there aren't so many in existence -- is it inscribed to someone? It's always fun to know which friends of mine sold it off!"

No, no name but yours. Supposedly ..."

I signed 10-20 of them at Powell's in Portland in 2004. It's probably one of those. Also, since you mentioned the art work, here's my mom's site: http://bkleinart.com

message 16: by Ted (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ted thanks Lee.

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