One cold winter night, Charlie shares a cab with a stranger in a purple hat. As they talk, a cloud of purple smoke overwhelms him and he wakes up to find himself behind the only desk in the Epiphany Detective Agency. Charlie, as it turns out, is trapped in Metaphoria, an otherworldly place that reality has forgotten, a place where everything means something else. His first client is Shirley Miller, who insists on hiring Charlie to find her husband's missing heart. In fact, she's so insistent that she replaces Charlie's heart with a bomb. He has twenty-four hours to find Twiggy Miller's heart -- and its meaning -- or his own will explode. Tender and brutal, optimistic and despairing, this modern fable by the author of the cult hit All My Friends Are Superheroes takes a fresh look at what it means to fall into, and out of, love.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Andrew Kaufman has many superpowers: a subtle sense of humour, an understanding of the nuances of human emotion, and the ability to find fresh ways to suck us right into his protagonists’ dilemmas. The Ticking Heart centres around Charlie, who—while stuck in the postdivorce doldrums—finds himself in Metaphoria, a topsy-turvy world in which emotional problems take concrete form. Kaufman’s deadpan wit brings this surreal universe to life without ever going overboard. We loved the absurd-but-charmingly-relatable calamities he imagines.
This enjoyable but haphazard romp from Kaufman (All My Friends Are Superheroes) drops the divorced Charlie Waterfield into the land of Metaphoria to find the emotional purpose of the human heart. Kaufman's irreverent and bursting prose explores Charlie's metaphoric odyssey to reckon with his relationship to his own heart and its capacity to give and receive love. In 24 hours, Charlie must assume the role of sole detective of the Epiphany Detective Agency, navigate the seemingly chaotic Metaphoria, grapple with his exes and his love, and reach his own epiphany in time to get his son to karate class. As Charlie faces a cyclops, white blood cells, Tachycardia Tower in the Never Ever Enough District, his ex-girlfriends, and a ticking bomb, he ends up taking a real beating. Along the way, he meets Twiggy, a theater performer whose "Spero Machine" helps him connect the dots of his past. While Kaufman's jokes are often cheap and easy, he reminds readers that no metaphor can go too far in Metaphoria, because "you've been told not to be proud." Fans of Mark Leyner will enjoy Kaufman's messy string of outrageous scenarios.