The Novel Cure: Literary prescriptions for indecision


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The Independent Culture

Ailment: Indecision

Cure: Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel

If you tie yourself up in knots whenever you're faced with two or more possible courses of action; if you tend to see everything from everyone else's point of view except your own; if you drive yourself and your friends crazy as you dither and deliberate, then you're suffering from the quintessential problem of our age: indecisiveness. Never before has there been more choice; and never before have we been more paralysed. To liberate yourself from this sorry state, we prescribe Benjamin Kunkel's Indecision, featuring a hero who has it even worse than you.

Dwight Wilmerding is a 28-year-old slacker who "can't think of the future 'til he's arrived there". Underemployed, and unsure about his girlfriend Vaneetha, he makes most of his decisions by flipping a coin. When the pharmaceutical company for which he works gives him the boot and a girl he once had a crush on, Natasha, invites him to Ecuador, he goes – for he's never happier than when decisions are taken out of his hands. And when another friend, Dan, offers him an experimental drug called Abulinix which promises to cure him of his indecision, he takes it. Only then is he told that Abulinix has some interesting side-effects, including satyrism (an excessive desire to copulate) and potentiating alcohol (meaning that one drink becomes two).

Whether it's the Abulinix that does it, or the psyche-altering drugs he also consumes, or indeed the beautiful and politicised Brigid, Dwight experiences a fundamental shift of consciousness while in Ecuador. Before he can pause to check his email (the immediate response of all those struck by an attack of indecisiveness), he's discovered a cause – and with it a set of beliefs. Suddenly, decisions become easy. Let this novel be your Abulinix. It'll show you how decisiveness looks, feels, and even a method of acquiring it – without any side-effects.