From the bestselling author of Thank You for Smoking and Make Russia Great Again comes a comic tour de force, the story of one man’s “lively and funny” (New York Journal of Books) journey through lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the pandemic, an aging screenwriter is holed up in a coastal South Carolina town with his beloved second wife, Peaches. He’s been binge-eating for a year and developed a notable rapport with the local fast-food chain Hippo King. He struggles to work—on a ludicrous screenplay about a Nazi attempt to kidnap FDR and, naturally, an article for Etymology Today on English words of Carthaginian origin. He’s told Peaches so often about the origins of the word mayonnaise that she’s developed an aversion to using the condiment. He thinks he has Covid. His wife thinks he is losing his mind. In short, your typical pandemic worries. Things were going from bad to worse even before his doctor suggested a battery of brain tests. He knows what that means: dementia!
But even in these scary times, there are plenty of things to do to distract him. His iPhone is fat-shaming him. He’s. been trying to read Proust and thinks the French novelist missed his true calling as a parfumier. And he’s discovered nefarious Russian influence on the local coroner’s face. Why is Putin so keen to control who decides who died peacefully and who by foul play in Pimento County. Could it be the local military base?
Has Anyone Seen My Toes? is a “laugh-out-loud” (Publishers Weekly) romp through a time that has been anything but funny.
Humorist Buckley (Make Russia Great Again) follows, in his funny if silly latest, a ruminating screenwriter in South Carolina. The unnamed narrator is wary of snakes and alligator-filled waters, and hopes to repair his reputation after Hollywood producers turned his screenplay about "Swamp Fox" Francis Marion into a pornographic folly. His new project, which he hopes to make into a blockbuster, features a good-hearted Nazi who kidnaps and befriends FDR. But the screenwriter distracts himself with down the rabbit hole Google searches about writers who committed suicide and deceased cast members of The Russians Are Coming. He's also obsessed with a local burger joint. As his second wife busies herself with estate auctions that include such rare items as Kirk Douglas's loincloth from Spartacus and Honor Blackman's brassiere in Goldfinger, the screenwriter gets caught up by the local race for county coroner, convinced one of the candidates is bent on premature burials and nefarious campaign tactics, perhaps with Russian intervention. Then there's his pricey concierge doctor, plying him with medications that may be undermining his ability to think clearly. Buckley gets some good gags out of the Nazi/FDR screenplay's fate, though tangential threads such as the coroner's race are left open-ended. Still, this amounts to a laugh-out-loud take on the writerly life.