Between you and me, I think the Vikings are still out there, waiting to rape and pillage again.

We are driving in Arkansas when she tells me she can trace the entire line of British royalty from Alfred the Great to Queen Victoria.

“Only to Queen Victoria?” I ask.

“It gets boring in modern times,” she attests.

“Why would anyone ever know—or need to know—that?”

“Don’t be a douche,” she says.  “It is important because it shows definitively that the elites are as corrupt, fallible, petty, vindictive, ignorant, and vile, if not more so, than any of their so-called subjects.  As it were, the great chain of being is an elaborate if ultimately solipsistic treatise meant to justify the status quo, and the notion that the ruling elites rise to power either by providence or skill is one of the most critically unchallenged ideas to ever exist in the world.”

I marvel that she actually talks this way, then say, “Bollocks! William the Silent was a good person.”

She laughs. “That isn’t what I said at all.  Besides, for every William the Silent there is a Henry the VIII.”

Henry the VIII? That’s not fair!” I protest.

“OK, then Edward II,” she says.

“You opprobrious homophobe,” I say.

“OK, then.  How about George IV?”

“Don’t know anything about him,” I confess.

“He took advantage of his father’s madness to install himself into power prematurely, was a serial womanizer, and lived lavishly at the expense of the social good.  This was just after the war with Napoleon, which he had WON, but some say only because—”

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“No.  You,” she says.

“Shut up,” I say.

“Oh, OK,” she says.

“No, keep going.  It’s very interesting!” I say.

“Well,” she says.  “First there was Alfred the Great.  But you can’t say too much about him for sure because all of the writing about him—from, like, 850 to 890—is all just fables.  But he led a successful guerrilla war against the Vikings, slaughtering them at Edington, and then chasing them back to their fortress at Chippenham until they were weakened with hunger and had to sue for peace.  But by then there were so many Vikings in England that he realized it would be easier to convert their leader to Christianity and let them stay than it would be to drive them out.  And that’s cool, but you have to wonder if they meant it or were just talking the talk and waiting to rise again at some later date.  The Vikings were crafty…or should I say ARE?  Between you and me, I think they are still out there, waiting to rape and pillage again.

“Anyway, after that came Edward the Elder, who was a complete bad ass.  The Danes were still being a bunch of jerkfaces, but…”

———

REVIEWS

Part action, part thriller, all comedy, The Librarian at the End of the World fires on all cylinders. Fans of Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace will revel in the ridiculousness that is Miller’s America.”

A constantly surprising picaresque journey through cultural darkness”

A most unique rollicking story that careens from the almost familiar instantly into a world of what is happening here?

Not so much a novel as a perpetual- motion machine: part road-show, part parable, careening between surrealism and comedy”

Laugh out loud rambling tale of the future/present”

Prepare to be blown away”

On the cutting edge of audacious literature”

Takes madcap to a new level, blending Preston Sturges and Philip Dick”

Outrageous and thought-provoking”

Just blown away.”

Fantastic and bizarre”

Lovecraft turns Beatnik and drops acid”

One of the absolutely most freakishly odd books I have ever read”

It’s like E. L. James, Larry Flynt, and Hunter Thompson somehow merged their DNA”

Even Carrie Fisher (yes, her vagina is in here) isn’t safe from this menace!”

If you are looking for a completely unique book, this one is hot!”

Funny and intelligent”

Filled with hedonism, erotica and hilarity.”

Only for strong and fearless readers.”

Wild, trippy, fun, and sometimes profound”

I found myself engaged, disconnected and overwhelmed all at the same time”

No one would ever expect this”

Imagine a world where Thin Man was co-written by Tim Leary and Douglas Adams and set in the Office staffed by assassins”

Brilliant, raunchy, hilarious, heartfelt, and by the end, breathtaking”

 “Social satire at its best”

In the end, this romp becomes something else. It becomes a work of art, moving and funny and memorable.”

Editor’s note: Technically it is her vulva, not her vagina.

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