Two patrons appear in a dim cafe one day. How they’ve arrived, where they’ve come from, and why they’re there at all, they have no idea. What they do know is that they hate one another.
So they smoke. They tinker. They talk about art. They talk about waiting. They talk about talking. They talk about talking about talking. They talk about the strange messages coming through the radio. They talk about the even stranger guests who arrive, only to disappear a moment later.
And as they fall deeper and deeper into this hysteria, what’s uncovered might just make these two unlikely protagonists the most human of us all.
Mike Corrao has with Man, Oh Man masterly crafted a humorous yet insightful experiment that’ll have you questioning how you’ve always approached novels.
Praise for Man, Oh Man
“Like Didi and Gogo, Laurel and Hardy or Jake and Elwood — Man and Oh Man wind and unwind; they knit and unknit … and as they do Mike Corrao’s Man, Oh Man shifts from sweater to skein and back again. Man, Oh Man puzzles through dialogue and debate, each sentence a cog seeking to be refit into the novel’s clockwork mechanism; a gear looking to connect, only to find itself lost in a Goldberg Machine.”
— Derek Beaulieu, 2014-2016 Poet Laureate of Calgary
“Mike Corrao’s debut is equally brief and ambitious, playing freely with language and diving into questions of philosophy, art, humanity, and being–while searching deeply into the psyche of that one guy in freshman philosophy class who’s got it all figured out and can’t seem to quit doling out answers. Funny in spots and necessarily grating in others, characters Man and Oh, Man plow through mountains of cold coffee and cigarette ash searching for–well, they’re not sure. It’s witty, smart, and unlike anything I’ve ever read.
— Brooks Rexroat, author of Thrift Store Coats
“Man, Oh Man is a distorted, contemplative, and refracted look at the nature of storytelling itself. It’s as if two literary critics, over-invested in the authority of Barthes, Derrida, and your other favorite literary theorists, sat down in the cafe of Ernest Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” and discussed narrative theory all night, humorously enacting both the trivialities of theoretical discourse gone awry, but also the importances and constraints of language, the spiral they fall into both affecting their own positions as subjects to each other, to the narrative they themselves are in, and the narrative they attempt to construct with the language they weave around themselves.”
— Janice Lee, Executive Editor of Entropy and author of The Sky Isn’t Blue
“Reading Mike Corrao’s Man, Oh Man is like being stuck on the loading screen before the universe begins. Every half-idea, mundane absurdity, and meta-criticism is suspended and floating in a yawning vacuum, so the titular characters can examine, prod, discuss, and break the epistemologies we take for granted. Part Angela Carter, part Beckett, this novel is a fever dream in a Parisian cafe where the other patrons can see your existential phantoms. You look up from your chess game and out the window with a sigh, having long ago forgotten how to make sense of the chaotic outer world, and having long ago stopped caring.”
— August Smith, author of Bird Lizard House