Critical Praise for Mark Miller
Mark Miller’s absurdist adventure, The Librarian at the End of the World is a satirical romp across America. Tracked by the NSA, Ramdas Bingaman and his wife, Colletta, embark on a vacation that soon becomes a quest to avenge his twin brother’s death, to reclaim his crown as champion speedbather, and to acquire enough loot to invest in a line of gourmet cheeses made from celebrity bacteria. Ramdas is soon entangled in the web of an insurance company turf war, an old love’s rekindled affections, and the theft of his prized hand towel, which was once used by Carrie Fisher on the Return of the Jedi set.
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.
Stephen Scott Whitaker, National Book Critics Circle and managing editor of The Broadkill Review.
Mark Miller describes himself as a ‘librarian of fortune, married to an anthropomorphic squirrel.’ One gets a tale written by exactly that kind of thinker. The Librarian at the End of the World is one of the absolutely most freakishly odd books I have ever read. I really did like it. I would have loved it if not for the F bomb going off every time I turned a page. It gets old and tiresome, at least for me. This tale is funny, witty and in some spots downright brilliant.
–Drakon T. Longwitten
Tales from the Book Dragon
The Librarian at the End of the World is not so much a novel as a perpetual-motion machine: part road-show, part parable, careening between surrealism and comedy as our librarian-hero and his patient lady set off in pursuit of…
Well that would be telling too much. Suffice it to say that Mark Miller keeps the action and the laughter coming too fast to stop and think about the meaning of it all. Just sit back and enjoy the ride!
Honestly, I hated to put it down. And when I finished, I was sorry to see it end.
Daniel Boyd, Author of Nada and Easy Death
This book is brilliant. Raunchy, hilarious, heartfelt, and by the end, breathtaking. I loved it!
Nora B Peevy, JournalStone/Trepidatio
A kaleidoscopic affair that references every Carrie Fisher wardrobe malfunction in the card catalogue. Poignant insights about climate calamity and the surveillance state eventually coalesce, and like any good librarian, Miller returns from the stacks with details that you didn’t realize you were looking for.
Mike Sauve, author of I Ain’t Got No Home in this World Anymore
A hysterical, bizzarro romp through a world you didn’t know you wished existed. You’ll laugh! You’ll cringe! This one is fun, don’t miss it!
David Price is the author of Lightbringers and co-editor of the Wicked anthology series
The Librarian at the End of the World presents a satirical romp across America, and is a recommended pick for readers who want to take the iconic Jack Kerouac classic On the Road one step further into absurdity. (Indeed, The Librarian at the End of the World combines the travelogue of Kerouac and the absurdity of Ken Kesey.)
The journey is undertaken by champion speedbather Ramdas Bingaman and his equally oddball wife Colletta, who turn a projected vacation into a rollicking odyssey of escape and revenge.
It’s difficult to immediately categorize The Librarian at the End of the World because so many elements are present and intersect at the very beginning, all using copious and non-stop levels of ironic observation and spoofs. Everything readers might anticipate from the novel by its title (either the story of a staid librarian, or an apocalyptic piece about survival) is turned on end from its introductory lines, which refute any idea that the story will be either dry or easily anticipated: “If you are going to rise to the top of your field at a young age, as I have, you have to own a closet full of suits because dressing well will balance out your otherwise youthful demeanor. People in my line of work don’t take you seriously unless they suspect you are capable of destroying them, their families, and their legacies. You probably don’t think of librarians in this light, but I assure you it is true. Librarians are fucking fierce. If you must know, I, Ramdas Bingaman, was never properly educated as a librarian, but that has never kept me from knowing all I need to know to help a patron in need.”
Miller cultivates a first-personal observation tone rooted in give-and-take, playing on words and expectations with a deft confidence that leads readers on a journey of anticipation, frustration, revelation, and satisfying surprises throughout.
The protagonist initially hides in a classroom and builds his reputation by being conservative in his actions, but a league of speedbathers and other circumstances lead him to regain his initiative with grand schemes even involving cheese pilfering (“I slip in the basement, find his refrigerator, and slice off a really thick slab of Lagoon with a View Bleu, though hopefully not enough for it to be missed, unless he already weighed the block of cheese, which I’m sure he has. Do I feel bad? Luring him back to his house with promises of a great fortune in exchange for his special cheese? Not at all. I am stronger, smarter, and more resourceful than my peers and auction competitors. I deserve to be rewarded, and if Ayn Rand were still alive we would have the hottest sex two rapacious narcissists with delusions of grandeur could have. The universe owes me everything, and I owe it nothing in return. Besides which, if I am going to completely satisfy six Amazonian strap-on fem doms, I am fucking aye right gonna keep all the money. Besides, from what I can tell, I’m not making a dime in residuals.”)
The Librarian at the End of the World is at once gritty, hilarious, raunchy, ironic, iconic, and as socially challenging as any classic travelogue of the 1960s.
Embedded within the trappings of wine and cheese events and compulsions to win recognition is a story of an insidious plan that may be either fabricated or real, depending on the protagonist’s current state of mind.
Novel readers looking for a lively romp across America’s prized standards and social circles that’s married to an iconic, quirky character’s search for “…love, life, death, and the end of the world”, will find The Librarian at the End of the World to be social satire at its best, ultimately questioning life’s purpose and coming up with a surprising conclusion about the end of everything.
Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“Only two pages into Mark Miller’s new novel I came upon this simile: ‘The suit fits like meringue on pie.’ It’s the kind of literary jolt I read fiction for, and this book produces them time and time again. The first-person narration is wry, sometimes smartass and always beguiling, the kind of voice that sticks with you like an earworm, the kind that leads you down the rabbit hole. Yet, in the end, this romp becomes something else. It becomes a work of art, moving and funny and memorable.”
Corey Mesler, author of Memphis Movie and Camel’s Bastard Son