BOOK REVIEW / In Brief: Et Tu Babe by Mark Leyner: Flamingo, pounds 5.99

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The Independent Culture
Diabolically funny and surreal, this book turns the author inside out. Surrounded by adoring acolytes, Leyner - who has risen from the gutter - has the body of a Chippendale, the bank statements of Jeffrey Archer, and the self-esteem of Jeanette Winterson. He falls foul of the US administration by tripping on a phial of Abraham Lincoln's morning breath and is sentenced to have all his possessions confiscated, week by week. When the squad takes his laptop, he disappears. There isn't much more to the plot than that, but Leyner's imagination makes for a great show: zebras with penises striped like barbers' poles, a president whose wife is the size of an 8-point Times Roman lowercase 'o'. Just occasionally, though, the book seems to be written for people with a concentration span of no more than three minutes: highly recommended for journeys, doctors' waiting rooms, etc.