“Apathy and Other Small Victories” by Paul Neilan

This book isn’t very well known but it is absolutely hilarious. And honestly, I was sold on it with the first paragraph:

I was stealing saltshakers again. Ten, sometimes twelve a night, shoving them in my pockets, hiding them up my sleeves, smuggling them out of bars and diners and anywhere else I could find them. In the morning, wherever I woke up, I was always covered in salt. I was cured meat. I had become beef jerky. Even as a small, small child, I knew it would one day come to this.”

I feel like that says everything that needs to be said about this book. I mean, there’s obviously more to it than stealing salt shakers, it’s sort of a murder mystery, sort of. The main character ends up being a murder suspect and he, after a fashion, tries to clear his name. I say “after a fashion” because Shane is not the brightest or most competent of people but he does see the world in an interesting way. I found myself breathlessly reading out loud entire pages to trapped family members, cackling all the while. It’s a short book and almost every part of it is deeply hilarious. The ending was kind of out of nowhere, but I guess it kind of fit the rest of the book, cuz it fit into the theme of the book of “What the hell’s the point?” (what with “apathy” and all). The rest is incredibly random and incredibly hilarious. It seems like it’s leading up to a sequel but as of yet there is none.

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