A man whose wife has recently passed away becomes more and more unhinged, refusing to see things in anything but their most literal form. He is given a reality television show where he travels around America asking people invasive questions.
Currie has been likened to Swift and Vonnegut, among other revered satirists. No doubt, the timeliness of this sendup will appeal to readers suffering from the whiplash of our new administration, especially those who prefer vibrant prose to boastful tweets. Yet there’s more here than meets the eye. Hijinks and parody aside, Currie has written a tale whose backstory about the final months of K’s marriage may be even more compelling than the book’s political follies ... Currie navigates the funny-sad axis of human relations as well as anyone writing today. He writes eloquently on the complexity of marriage, conveying the gravity and humor at its core. He’s a consummate performer – engaging and generous, filled with provocative ideas and gorgeous language to express them.
...[a] dark, tender and oh-so-timely novel ... When the story approaches what seems to be a cataclysmic conclusion, K takes the measure of TV news and the current state of affairs: 'It may be true that there was a time in America when journalists sought clarity of circumstance and certainty of fact,; he says, 'but now, as I listened to speculation after speculation, each one more baseless than the last, I realized that the bread and butter of the modern newsman was opacity. When one has an endless succession of 24-hour news cycles to fill, the fewer known facts, the better.' Something most Americans can agree on.
Currie’s three prior novels are expert blends of comic absurdity and calamity. It’s no surprise, then, that The Great False Binary is just one of the stops on The One-Eyed Man’s flinty path between hilarious and tragic ... K. and Claire travel, and are filmed when they get into scraps, like a more confrontational Jackass. The morality of such a show doesn’t escape Theodore, owing to the Great False binary... This complicity is intertwined with Einstein, whose biography K. has read and refers to throughout ...we’ve been reading that irony is dead, even as layers have subsequently been draped or slathered on even more heavily ...is rueful and unpredictable and honest and side-splitting in its depiction of our common struggle with the confines of truth and the defective airbag that is irony. His protagonist evokes a Kafkaesque maze of the mind, in the pitfalls and hazards of both isolation and speaking out.