The novel of 84,000 words entitled Identity Theft is a type of literary fiction perhaps somewhat in the style of B.S. Johnson.
Michael Herr wrote Dispatches on the Vietnam War in an attempt to capture the discordant sounds, madcap sights and peculiar rhythms of that conflict. Identity Theft deals with the horrors of Alzheimer’s and in particular the stress on the caregivers, segueing from the lyrical to the offensive, from erotica to scenes of humor, from the logical to the bizarre, all the while weaving in and out of the minds of characters any of whom might be the author of the novel or simply one of the characters inside the hallucinations of the author. In other words, the novel attempts to capture the twists and turns and mangled logic inside a world being formed and distorted by Alzheimer’s tangles and plaques.
The novel begins in Connecticut where a teacher is writing a novel about Thailand. When his skull is inadvertently crushed during a sex act he is rushed to the hospital and the novel he was writing becomes (at times) this novel, with scenes set in Connecticut, Thailand and Florida.
At its core, Identity Theft is the story of an overwhelmed caregiver attempting respite from dealing with his mother’s Alzheimer’s by creating and entering a bizarre world populated with Thai go go dancers, kinky sex, insurance fraud, kidnapping and murder, until at last what may be his real world begins to separate from what may be his fictional world. The novel is also an attempt to explore the relationship of writer to character. The opening of the novel is also in the form of a synopsis for reviewers too busy to read entire novels.
Millions now have some form of dementia, usually Alzheimer’s, and the crisis is getting worse. I believe this novel is quite timely.