I couldn't put it down, like a bomb singing me a lullaby. For fans of John's movies, this will be a delicious treat. And for the boring people who don't know what's up, good luck. Marsha is probably the funniest villain I've ever read, and I was cheering for her the whole way through. Like all of John's work, this was true comedy, he has ransacked culture for its absurdity, violence and lunacy, and yet somehow I am happier to be here after going along for the ride.” —Ottessa Moshfegh, author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation
"Nasty, violent, and obscene? Over-the-top, ricocheting, and hilarious? All of the above describe the self-described Pope of Trash and Filth Elder’s first novel . . . [The] misadventures are absurd, vulgar, bloody, comic, and weirdly sweet as devilish Waters keeps the pedal to the metal . . . and slyly advocates for acceptance and love." —Donna Seaman, Booklist
"A hilariously sleazy story of a con artist in which the villains are good guys, the good guys are silly, and everybody gets down and dirty . . . it’s a must for fans of high camp." —Publishers weekly
"The king of campology is back, as gleefully heinous as ever." —Kirkus Reviews
DEBUT This first novel by Waters (the iconic director of Hairspray and Female Trouble) is nothing short of stunningly outrageous—a nonstop smorgasbord of theft, deceit, and rancor fueled by an unrelenting, unabashedly sexualized comic genius. It commences with Marsha Sprinkle and Daryl Hotchkins as partners in a luggage theft scam. Daryl's incentive is sex with Marsha in exchange for his participation. Their flagrant thievery is discovered, and their photos are posted on local news channels. Chased by security, they become separated, but both accomplished scammers continue to steal on different tangents. Multiple cumulative adventures ensue. Daryl's penis (named Richard) starts talking. Marsha steals from her movement-obsessed daughter Poppy and then from her estranged mother, Adora. This causes a melee-filled revenge chase across several states. The distributed action converges at an analingus festival in Provincetown, Mass. Here Marsha discovers the turn-on of telling the truth and Richard is detached from Daryl in a dog attack. Marsha then fakes her death and gets away with everything. VERDICT This eminently farcical and jocular work reads like Planes, Trains and Automobiles meets, oddly enough, a John Waters movie; recommended for intrepid readers cognizant of satire.—Henry Bankhead
A grifter couple rampages up the Eastern Seaboard, their relatives and genitals in tow.
Marsha Sprinkle and Daryl, her ex-husband/chauffeur, have been living high on the hog in a foreclosed McMansion, making regular raids on the Baltimore/Washington International Airport baggage claim to keep themselves in clothing, cash, and fake IDs. Tension between the couple is running high—it's the one day a year that Marsha permits sexual intercourse, and Daryl and his little friend, Richard (his penis has a life, a voice, and dreams of its own), are ready to collect. Marsha, however, has absolutely no intention of honoring her agreement, so when a heist at the airport goes awry, she gives Daryl and Richard the slip and goes on the lam by herself. Fleeing up the East Coast, she's trailed not only by her ex and his penis, but by her estranged 22-year-old daughter, Poppy, and Poppy's cabal of bouncing friends—Leepa, Vaulta, and other "leaders in the radical trampoline movement"—as well as her also-estranged mother, Adora. New York–based Adora is worshipped on the Upper East Side for her plastic surgery on dogs. Her own cocker spaniel, Surprize, has been made over to look like Joan Rivers ("Adora has spent years sculpting, tucking, pulling, and lasering her dog’s skin into that 'wind tunnel' look that Joan made her signature") but is now transitioning to become a cat. All of this gives Waters plenty of opportunity for woke jokes; Amtrak, bus, and airport jokes; and, of course, poop jokes. If you are a Waters fan, you have long since made your peace with the latter. Good thing, because the whole crew of Marsha haters is headed to Provincetown for the annual Anilingus Festival. Billed as Waters' debut novel, this road story is a cousin of the stories included in his hitchhiking memoir, Carsick (2015).
The king of campology is back, as gleefully heinous as ever.