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Indecision  By  cover art

Indecision

By: Benjamin Kunkel
Narrated by: Patrick Frederic
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Publisher's summary

Benjamin Kunkel’s brilliantly comic debut novel concerns one of the central maladies of our time–a pathological indecision that turns abundance into an affliction and opportunity into a curse.

Dwight B. Wilmerding is only twenty-eight, but he’s having a midlife crisis. Of course, living a dissolute, dorm like existence in a tiny apartment and working in tech support at the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer are not especially conducive to wisdom. And a few sessions of psychoanalysis conducted by his sister have distinctly failed to help with his biggest problem: a chronic inability to make up his mind. Encouraged by one of his roommates to try an experimental pharmaceutical meant to banish indecision, Dwight jumps at the chance (not without some meditation on the hazards of jumping) and swallows the first fateful pill. And when all at once he is “pfired” from Pfizer and invited to a rendezvous in exotic Ecuador with the girl of his long-ago prep-school dreams, he finds himself on the brink of a new life. The trouble–well, one of the troubles–is that Dwight can’t decide if the pills are working. Deep in the jungles of the Amazon, in the foreign country of a changed outlook, his would-be romantic escape becomes a hilarious journey into unbidden responsibility and unwelcome knowledge.

How to affirm happiness without living in constant denial of the ways of the world? How to commit, and to what? At once funny and poignant, gentle and outrageous, finely intelligent and proudly silly, Indecision rings with a voice of great energy and originality, while its deeper inquiries reflect the concerns and style of a generation.

©2005 Benjamin Kunkel (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Here's what Indecision gives you: sustained social and intellectual comedy, possibly the last but certainly the funniest Superfluous Man in modern literature, drive-by satire plus detailed set-piece send-ups of Young Adult colgrads at work and play. The mockery is humane. The tale of Dwight Wilmerding is told with style and care. And there's a surprising ending. Benjamin Kunkel, welcome!"–Norman Rush, author of Mating and Mortals

“Very funny...The prose itself offers much pleasure. Kunkel would have given Stanley Elkin a run for his money in the clever metaphor department... Because he’s young and uses big words, Kunkel may unfairly be compared to David Foster Wallace or Rick Moody, but unlike them he has succeeded in writing a novel that’s clever without being self-conscious. Dwight’s plot never plays second-fiddle to Benjamin Kunkel’s intelligence. My advice? Read this one.”–Washington Post Book World

“Kunkel manages to whip up a cerebral novel that doesn’t feel overly, uh, cerebral...Funny.”–Village Voice

What listeners say about Indecision

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Irony...and a fantastic reader

I wanted to write a review to praise Patrick Frederic--his reading was wonderful, and added profound dimension and variety to this dialogue-rich book. However, I'm surprised to see so many other reviewers critiquing the ending as advocacy for democratic socialism. Dude: IRONY. He bought into an ideology wholesale, so to speak, and a rather banal one at that (democratic socialism is hardly a revolutionary concept in most of the world). Is that self-determination? What is self-determination, anyway? I think the book asks this question deftly. I was disappointed in the ending for other reasons--it seemed rushed and left many characters unresolved--but I thought the author brought home a particularly subtle and ironic point. Perhaps it was too subtle. Ah well. In any event, MAJOR props to Patrick Frederic. More novels from him, please, please.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Fun but light

Enjoyable listen ... but a bit predictable in the end. Okay if you're looking for something light ...

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  • Overall