A bitingly funny, smart, and moving road novel about two hapless lost souls - an alcoholic Vietnam veteran turned best-selling author and his awkward, shy college-student superfan - who form an unlikely connection on the world's most disastrous book tour.
Richard Lazar is advancing in years but regressing in life. After a career as a literary novelist that has ground to a halt and landed him in a trailer in Phoenix, Richard is surprised to find sudden success publishing a gritty memoir about his service in Vietnam. Sent on a book tour by his publishing house, Richard encounters his biggest (and really only) fan: an awkward, despondent student named Vance with issues of his own - an absentee father, a depressive mother, his own acute shyness. Soon Vance has volunteered to chauffeur Richard for the rest of the book tour, and the two embark on a disastrous but often hilarious cross-country trip. When things go wrong, Richard and Vance forge an unlikely bond between two misanthropes whose mutual insecurities and disdain for the world force both to look at each other and their lives in a more meaningful way.
As they reach the end of the book tour, The Grand Tour ultimately becomes a moving tale of unlikely friendship that should catapult Adam O'Fallon Price into the company of such masters of all-American dyspepsia as Sam Lipsyte, David Gates, and Walter Kirn.
This looked like a promising story about a boozy old cynic and his unlikely friendship with a naive young man. It started off well enough, particularly as the character of the younger man seemed to be someone you could really root for. Unfortunately the whole thing suffers from a confusing structure which includes long extracts from the book written by the main character - with no apparent benefit to the plot. It is also not at all funny despite what the synopsis says. I got about two thirds of the way through before realising I wasn't really listening any more. The fact that this is read by one of my favourite narrators makes me feel bad about not liking this book.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful