By Neil Hagerty

(Drag City, 157 pages)

What's worse than a book by a musician who, at one time, was a legendary fuck-up in a minor indie-rock band? A second book by that guy. Hagerty was half of the trashed-psych combo Royal Trux, and Public Works is his second real book. (He also wrote Victory Chimp, a novel that wasn't nearly as interesting as his comic book, The Adventures of Royal Trux.) Unsurprisingly, the self-importance that carried him through his music career continues unabated in his literary life. That his second book finds him collating essays, journal entries and story fragments is proof positive that he has an exaggerated sense of his abilities as well as the import and originality of his thoughts. That he thinks (correctly, probably) that people want to read half-baked tales like "Interstellar Taco Stand" or a ridiculous bit of stream-of-consciousness like "The American Anti-Revenant League" (in which he gets to tie in clichés about sports fans with his thoughts on taboos including vampires and blackface) is a sad reflection on how low literary standards have fallen among college-rock fans.


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