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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Comfort Me With Peter De Vries

I first read Peter De Vries when as a skinny, bespectacled college freshman, I ran across his novels at the library of the old Thomas Jefferson Cultural Center located then in Makati (Philippines).

His novels were the funniest I've ever read, even funnier than John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, which is considered by some to be the funniest novel ever written. By “some,” I mean Americans; by Americans, I mean those good people over at Cracked. Well, Toole’s novel might be funny to them (I tried reading it, but I couldn't finish it), but Mr. De Vries’ novels are so much funnier, so much wittier.
Peter De Vries (1910-1993)

I remember all those good times I had reading Mr. De Vries' novels. I remember them the way other college freshmen remember the good times they had at all those parties. I’m a geek, in case you still hadn't surmised it yet (but then again, I was Grand Chancellor of the coolest Greek society in our university—for five ass kicking semesters, so there’s that). A geek Greek, is what I am.

Anyway, I was checking out Mr. De Vries’ wiki page, and I found out that by the time he died, all his books were out of print. I was outraged. Yet another reason for me to whine about modern society and its skewed priorities. I hate finding reasons to whine about. So imagine my surprise and delight when I serendipitously stumbled upon a copy  of Slouching Towards Kalamazoo, a De Vries novel I hadn't read. I was giddy with happiness, I felt as ecstatic as this kid: 

Peter De Vries was one of the greatest comedic writers, and I am very lucky that I get to read, and appreciate, his works. Why his books would go out of print I will never understand. Mr. De Vries is one of the reasons why a book lover would never regret all those times spent on reading. 

I remember reading these: Comfort Me with Apples, The Vale of Laughter, I Hear America Swinging, Madder Music, and Peckham’s Marbles. I couldn't read them fast enough. These books made me giggle like an idiot. Happy times. 

You know the feeling when the girl you just met at a party is laughing at all your jokes, looking at you with cow eyes,  drunk, and you’re sitting there with a packet of condoms in your wallet, sipping beer, and thinking Oooh baby you gonna get it tonight? Well, I don’t, either—but that’s not the point. I imagine that kind of anticipation approximates what I feel as I saunter home with this book.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I stumbled upon de vries a couple years ago and was floored by how good he was and thus baffled i hadnt heard more about him previously


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