Wallace, born in Birmingham, has indeed written A Novel of Mythic Proportions. It’s part-fantasy, part hero’s journey, part-comedy, part coming-of-age, but it’s all good. Its short chapters are packed with a wide range of remarkable characters, but what makes it work, I think, is the genuine relationship between the father and son, the latter of whom was born during an Auburn-Alabama football game.
It’s hard to say much about this book without spoiling anything, but it starts from the premise of a son making a last effort to connect with his father because his father is dying. We then get flashbacks of the father’s life as in the present time, he tells his son far too many jokes and a crowd gathers outside of their home to witness his passing.
What’s remarkable about Wallace’s writing is that in these short chapters, he manages to make people and creatures come alive with just a few brush strokes. That’s probably why Tim Burton and others turned it into an excellent movie.