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My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,542 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist is a postmodernist/absurdist book composed of 17 loosely-related chapters with no general storyline. It is voiced in first-person by an anonymous narrator often using jargon, broken grammar and punctuation with a poetry-like structure. The narration shifts quickly from random idea to idea with little to no connectivity between them, typical ...more
Paperback, 154 pages
Published May 10th 1995 by Vintage (first published 1990)
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The funniest fucking thing I have ever read. Almost every page is jammed with absurd details and dark punchlines...prepare to squint in confusion and roll with uproarious laughter and applause! It is sort of like DFW meets William S. Burroughs crossed w/the respective films Schizopolis by Steven Soderbergh and Putney Swope by Robert Downey, Sr. (a man even more talented than his much more well known son from my POV), but throwing around convuluted comparisons doesn't give this sort-of-short-"st ...more
MJ Nicholls
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Mark Leyner is not, according to the latest reports, a fictional character created by DFW parodying the sort of 1990s hipster prose artist that writes books composed entirely of rhythmical free-association surrealism riddled with medical terminology. Apparently, this dude wearing the hilarious red-spotted tie on the cover and sporting shades on the inside pic, lowered so we might peer into the artist’s mesmeric eyes, is in fact a real person who wrote this real book. Strange world. Leyner’s pros ...more
Arthur Graham
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
A bit uneven throughout, but probably as good as any introduction to the mind of this demented pervert.
mark monday
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
twee little dessert item. some enjoyably oddball passages keep the interest, much like listening to someone go on and on during their acid trip when you aren't on acid yourself.... irritating and occasionally hilarious. but mainly exhausting.
Brent Legault
Mar 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the undervocabularied, the overegotistical
I had a crush on this book when I was a kid. The book, not the man behind the book. I remember reading the story, The Suggestiveness of One Stray Hair in an Otherwise Perfect Coiffure, in my head -- in the bookstore before buying it -- and laughing like a friendless madman. And I sort of remember reading it out loud at a party or at several parties and laughing like a drunken, friendless madman. Girls really dig me, I sort of remember thinking. Those were the days.

I still laugh when I bother to
Aug 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: college freshman who want their new friends to think them clever
Shelves: booksiveloved
It is more fun reading this book than watching Frank Sinatra gently grate cheese over a head of hair before garnishing it with a sprig of parsley. (It's been 12 years since I've picked the book up, but I swear, there is a line somewhere in it referencing such a scene.)

This is one of the few books that was so precious to me that I could not bring myself to recommend to anybody. That, and the fact that any friend of mine who read it would immediately know how much of my conversation was plagiarize
Dec 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: College students, Burroughs fans, literary rebels
Recommended to Michael by: Tom Maddox
Shelves: literature, poetry
I read this book half a lifetime ago, while I was in college. If goodreads had been around then, I would probably have rated it five stars, or at least four. Going through it to prepare for this review, I debated giving it two - I might have if I had re-read the whole thing. This reflects the ways we change as we grow older, as well as how what we want from literature changes. The book hasn't changed, but I sure have. People in their early twenties are often trying to figure out the rules of the ...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Part I

(view spoiler)

Part II
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M. Sarki
May 04, 2016 rated it it was ok

Perhaps I should confess how impressed I am with Mark Leyner’s ability to keep his rambling psychotic rants on task and focused enough to the degree he maintained, with skill, the mind trip he wanted us privy to. Problem for me was not one story meant anything. There was no physical emotion anywhere amounting to something exampled. He failed to establish or express any substance. His tightrope act at times did appear astounding, but I kept asking myself wh
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: yeast
Recommended to Rand by: p r o b i o t i x
File under "fnord" and / or "reasons to go Gluten Free" , "foggy notion" .
Nick Black
Aug 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: likely-reread
An awful lot of fun. The first half of the collection is noticeably better than the second. Loved the use of E-13B IDAutomationMICR for the chapter number font, which I (maddeningly!) couldn't place until this morning -- I kept thinking "space invaders" for some stupid reason. The text itself is of course just logorrhea and farrago, but the best of its kind. Found myself laughing so loudly at times that I worried I'd wake my roommate.
Discovered in David Foster Wallace's essay "E Unibus Plura
Ben Loory
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
hated it at first and tossed it aside... then came back the next day and DEVOURED it. it's really more poetry than anything else (these definitely aren't stories in any meaningful sense), and i didn't find it funny so much as delightful, just a joyful and unbounded explosion of creative energy... that being said, IT'S CERTAINLY NOT FOR EVERYONE. (and i would never have suspected it'd be for me.)

Tasner stared out the window. From telephone pole to telephone pole, pendulous drops of rainwater dang
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read09
I gave this book four stars because of the sheer fun it is to read. It is like every word is equally important or not important at all, depending on what you are feeling at that particular moment.

It is interesting that this edition of the book actually says "A novel" as the subtitle because I'm not sure it is, more of a group of short stories, only not really. It is true that the gastroenterologist makes more than one appearance.

I feel like this made the most sense when I looked at it sideways,
Jan 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2001
Pretty much impossible to read, but I did anyway.
Simone Levy
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Each night I have the same dream: I'm sitting on the john in the men's room at Avery Fisher Hall— at the climax of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade a swordfish flies up out of the toilet water and buries itself in my rectum, but when I look down into the bowl I find that in actuality I've defecated the missing 18-minute section of Watergate tape."

comedic genius. this book is wild from start to finish. this is a fever dream epic prose poem that is absolutely brilliant.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had no idea how hungry I was for this sort of play.
Nov 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
46. Leyner, Mark. MY COUSIN, MY GASTROENTEROLOGIST. (1990). *. If you read this book, you will probably think that one star is too high of a rating – and you would be right. It’s hard to describe. There is no plot line, per se. There are no characters of any importance – besides the author/narrator – that you can follow, so there is, obviously, no character development. The setting is mostly New Jersey, but it could be anywhere, so there is no sense of place. Maybe a series of quotes will give y ...more
Sep 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I heard about Mark Leyner's My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist from my girlfriend, who herself heard of it from a David Foster Wallace essay—although she couldn't quite be sure if Wallace's appraisal was positive or negative. Indeed, it's a tricky book to assess. On the one hand, it's clearly pretty fucking stupid. Yet on the other, might this be the result not of Leyner's sophomoric inanity, but rather of his satirical genius?

Allow me to supply you with an example, although please be aware that t
Aug 02, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a rare document. An experimental postmodern fiction artist named Mark Leyner makes crazy word collages, byzantine temples of thought in a nihilistically symbolic universe. Be careful not to get your head caught! I read this in brief spurts while I worked in a bookstore and it is a definite headfuck, like an experimental drug. The wordplay is wild and you are definitely going to get some comical and disturbing images. I don't even remember the plot.

Word on the street was that this guy ha
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: list-pomo
My eyeballs are striated with reading strain and my stomach flips from a dripping nasal cavity and I have a week off so I read as quickly as I can fearful that there will be no time on the other side and already planning the days off I will be bequeathed next year because if I hold on long enough it's possible I tell myself that the number of days off will outweigh the number of days worked and really work isn't so bad but it's still a thing that makes the stomach flip and I would as my gastroen ...more
Mike Hetteix
Dec 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: po-mo pop-culture gonzo ironists
Leyner writes hyperkinetic gonzo prose which is a mutant hybrid between William Burroughs at his most schizoid and Dave Barry at his most laugh out loud. This is gag-a-minute writing for A.D.D. addled avant guardists drenched in the toxic jetsam of pop culture. I'd post some exceperts but I lent the book out and unsurpsingly never got it back. While Leyner's book is one of the rare few that can make me laugh out loud, my enjoyment has been tempered by David Foster Wallace's pointed criticism of ...more
Oct 10, 2007 rated it did not like it
From a blog post I wrote in 2005:
Some readers may think I like every book I read. Well, this book disproves that theory. Author Mark Leyner's book was described as "Brilliant mutant prose" by the San Francisco Examiner. I think a more accurate description is "Nonsensical drivel."

Here's an excerpt:

"tonight at madison square garden the new york rangers disemboweled the boston bruins' goalie, brought a hibachi onto the ice, roasted his intestines and served them on toast points to the howling homet
Kye Alfred Hillig
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Mark Leyner is a literary anarchist. His stories are wild creatures that evolve like bursting fireworks. He seems to care little for delivering some kind of straight forward story structure and opts to instead just have fun. Some of Mark's stories are so funny and clever that it is hard to picture someone sitting their writing it. The work is smart and it is truly poetic. Leyner proves that a story doesn't have to have any character development to pull you through it. I absolutely could not wait ...more
Jemiah Jefferson
This book gets me high. Honestly. I go into a completely different cerebrospinal temporospatial state of being when faced with the breathless mastery of these stories, as well as hyperventilating from laughing so hard for over a hundred pages. Mark Leyner is one of the greatest national treasures this nation has ever produced, and why he's not ruling over this hemisphere from a 45-foot-tall throne made up of discarded Jacob the Jeweler pimp cups, NuvaRings, frozen Charleston Chews, and gold doub ...more
Crystal Billy
The off-kilter prose is a good spark to pull a reader in, but as it drags, and drags, and drags through 150 pages that, aside from little tidbits here and there, are ultimately meaningless and fall much too short to even instigate any sort of shrouded glint of profundity, that spark is clearly not enough. Leyner and this format are much better suited for poetics than this purported novel (insert shrugging girl emoji). This 1 is clearly for the pseudo-woke lit-bros & poetry majors, byeeeeeeee ...more
Oliver Bateman
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was initially quite skeptical of this collection of short "stories," but Leyner does pomo fiction the right way: with tongue planted firmly in cheek. It's impossible to explain what happens in here, save for the fact that the phrase "my cousin, my gastroenterologist" appears in nearly every piece. A few of Leyner's gags fall flat, but most of his sentences are among the saddest and funniest I've ever read.
Ryan Dilbert
Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of words
what a wonderful nutjob Leyner is. he breaks every kind of rule with his writing and has a great time doing it. some of these are wow-worthy and others just too crazy but seeing the man shoot for the stars everytime is inspiring. he shoots words at you with a machine gun, puts you on his rollercoaster and injects you with liquid vertigo all at the same time.
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have no idea when I read this - senior year of high school, I think. I bought a signed copy in Cambridge on a college visit. What I remember most about this novel is the phrase "vigilate squirrels are coming to get you." That has stuck with me since. I guess I've always had a thing for vigilantes and squirrels, and once combined my life was never the same.
May 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Genius, like plastic vomit, like fingers wearing olives for hats, like olive hats girded in pepperoni for a brim.

Like reaching through a sewer grate for a dollar and coming up with a thorough understanding of thermodynamics instead, and using that knowledge to invent a child-safe flamethrower.

You have a car bomb.

Jul 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people on a break from seriousness
Shelves: own-currently
The great thing about Leyner is that you have a blast reading the books, and then immediately forget everything you just read. So they're just as fun the second time around! In fact, I'm not even sure which of his I've read, or even how many unique ones I read. Now I'm thinking it was just Et Tu, Babe.
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Mark Leyner is an American postmodernist author.

Leyner employs an intense and unconventional style in his works of fiction. His stories are generally humorous and absurd: In The Tetherballs of Bougainville, Mark's father survives a lethal injection at the hands of the New Jersey penal system, and so is freed but must live the remainder of his life in fear of being executed, at New Jersey's discret
“I was an infinitely hot and dense dot.” 7 likes
“On our last mission - our "final exam" - we were airlifted to a remote region, and we parachuted directly into a hostile enclave. We had to subdue the enemy using hand-to-hand tactics like tae kwon do and pugil sticks, cut their hair in styles appropriate to their particular face shapes, and give them perms.” 5 likes
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