Giving Head to a Hot Young Writer: A Special Column by Jay McInerney

We were drinking Stoli and snorting lines off an expensive hooker’s back, discussing a certain young stallion who’d the paper of record had puffed up before and who we had hoped to blow ourselves right when this Bolivian marching powder went straight to our heads. “Who cares, Jayster,” said my friend, who may or may not have been married. “Writers in their 20’s are good for one thing and one thing only: dependable fellatio.” I don’t know — I guess that’s possible, as many hipsters and not a few seedy men with glittering threads have claimed, that I’m a sad case for an author gone horribly awry after a stunning debut, but I remain, long after passing any literary relevance, strangely interested in wine and any book review opportunity where I can make a desperate stab at reclaiming any credibility I once had. I devour first novels, weeping profusely at the world that I shall never know again. I’ve tried to use second voice in some of my later fiction work, hoping for a comeback, but people have thought my efforts a pathetic gimmick. They’re right, of course. I have very little much to say any more. It doesn’t help that the weasley Michael J. Fox starred in the film adaptation of my book and that I have to explain constantly to people that I am not, in fact, married to Tracy Pollan.

But that’s where Benjamin Kunkel’s “Indecision” comes in. Ben (and I assure you that I have good reason to use his first name here) has penned a novel that I would gladly bob my head for. I would unzip Ben’s pants without a second thought. So should we all. When I read Ben’s book, I felt a certain inexplicable faith that I couldn’t put into words. The kind of ineffable sensation that one experiences when one undergoes an erection while flipping through a family album and fingering a hot cousin (not the cousin, silly, but the photo, of course!). It’s a bit taboo to think about this, but now that we’re all out here in the open, I’d like to see a show of hands. How many of you drop your pants when you get sexually excited by a novel? Furthermore, how many of you are compelled to call up the author, see if the author’s available for a hot weekend, and then perform as much fellatio (or cunnilingus; let’s consider both genders here) as this author demands over a 48 hour period?

Anyone who’s followed my work knows that I don’t hold back. I tell it like it is. And when I say to you that Benjamin Kunkel is an author who deserves as much fellatio as America can give him, well then you know that’s no bullshit coming from Uncle Jay! Ben is cute and cuddly and his book is the cat’s pajamas. And while I can’t quite figure out what it is that makes Ben’s book work, let me just say that I think he’s “deeply aware” of what a novel is all about — meaning that he has probably read at least fifty books in his lifetime and has picked up the basics.

Ben is ready to be fawned and groomed over like a hot coal in a blacksmith’s callused hands. Let him have groupies, masseuses, admirers, sycophants and, of course, we trusty fellators. You see, Ben Kunkel has exploded onto the literary scene like a ripe pinata. He’s the kind of man who I’d happily mix my metaphors for, if not Ben’s drinks.

Of course, once the ballyhoo dies down, you may just find Ben here on these review pages writing about some other hot young stallion ready to be spanked. Let us all hope that Mr. Kunkel’s grace and gratitude is as great as his talent. For so many others, like me, have been rash and wrong before.


  1. Oh dude, thank you so much for this. It was bad enough that the NYTBR assigned Oh Pure and Radiant Heart to someone not quite up to the task; bad enough it was a half-page; bad enough it was at the end of August…but to then see that they gave the cover to a generic first novel…

    You’ve restored my sense of equilibrium.

  2. Truly hilarious, right up there with the send-up of Ayelet we saw a few months back. For Jay Mac pomposity is its own reward. We need more of this, Ed.

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