Notes from the Trauma Party: A Novel by Michael Keen
Tailwinds Press, November 2023
In Notes from the Trauma Party, Michael Keen creates a post-Knausgaard fictional reality that is as devastating as it is hilarious. An idealistic social worker—with the same name as the author—counsels the mentally ill, tries to be scrupulously honest (too honest?) with his girlfriends, and earnestly lectures his fellow writers in the MFA hothouse—all while navigating the complicated administrative aspects of being, and remaining, extraordinarily high. Appropriating the time-worn tropes of an addiction memoir, Keen’s kaleidoscopic debut novel recounts a string of harrowingly awkward encounters with oversexed coworkers, narcissistic writers, self-absorbed drug dealers, estranged parents, schizophrenics, and pedophiles—each causing and reflecting one man’s pathological confusion about the workings of his inner world. In its transgressively exhilarating depiction of millennial anomie, Notes from the Trauma Party is a no-holds-barred examination of a quest for total transparency that is as awful as it is sublime.
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