Keith Staskiewicz
February 15, 2012 AT 05:00 AM EST

Flatscreen

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
publisher
HarperCollins
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

Eli Schwartz is really good at being a loser. Overweight and unemployed, his life a humid terrarium of pot smoke and sexual frustration, he stumbles through his suburban Massachusetts hometown looking for drugs and easy conquests, meeting a paraplegic former TV actor who nudges him along his downward spiral. Eli’s narration in Flatscreen is darkly funny but drenched in a slimy oil of self-loathing, his escapades coming off like those of a particularly pathetic Portnoy. After a while it wears on you, and it starts to feel like this study of one man’s inertia isn’t really going anywhere either. B

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