The Last Collection by Seymour Blicker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Absolutely hysterical and thoroughly enjoyable. Canada is not known for its satirical novels, but in Shmucks and The Last Collection Seymour Blicker proves himself to be equal to the masters of the genre, especially the Jewish sub genre, which has it's own style and flavour. This novel is especially reminiscent of Woody Allen's wackiest. Memorable characters include a particularly neurotic psychiatrist who's office features tropical decor and a remote controlled recliner chair that spins and rises to the ceiling, and a Jewish thug with a soft spot. Blicker does what all the best authors do, he turns the tables on the characters and at the same time on the reader. The cons get conned, and we can't ever really be sure who is the genuine article. And therein lies the deeper resonance of this novel, as in all superior satire, the layers of truth and deceit are revealed. The last collection referred to in the title is not only collection on a debt, or the mental illness of hoarding and greed which afflicts the protagonist and which gets him into debt in the first place. But it also cleverly refers to the collection of moral sins that one party wants to atone for and the collection of guilt that the other party wants to liberate themselves from.
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