author: Andy Kaufman
rating: *****

This is a pseudo-autographical novel written by the late comic/actor/performer Andy Kaufman from 1977 to 1983. Most of the book centers on a young Huey's adventures climbing a mystical mountain at an amusement park and the further up he goes, the more adventures he finds himself involved in - basically it's a journey into "other lands", very dreamlike in its nature. The story will then go back and forth to Huey growing up "on earth" (i.e. in reality) and eventually becoming a comedian and actor. When things get too normal we return to the mountain: back into dreamland again (although it's never said to be an actual dream; and the "normal" story's character learns from the mountain experiences). The writing flows beautifully and the book even keeps in grammer and spelling mistakes just as Kaufman typed it. The story concludes suddenly with a description of a random building in New York; Kaufman was in the midst of the disease that would kill him and obviously couldn't continue (there are dates, like in journal entries, before each "chapter", and this last segment ends only months before his death). The first couple chapters before Huey climbs the mountain - centering on he and his kindergarten pals wandering the neighborhood and being chased by tract bullies - is as realistic and involving as any coming-of-age prose I've read. It's a shame that this story, and HIS story, had to end so soon.

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