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“Slyly defiant and blazingly imaginative, like the best modernist literature, Everything Abridged is a powerful celebration of flaw and failure. It’s a book that revels in the timelessness of obsolescence and the freedom of powerlessness. Dayle’s a genre-shattering writer, whose wit and intellect never cease to entertain. This refreshingly original and powerfully funny collection is a debut to remember.”—Paul Beatty, New York Times bestselling author of The Sellout
For fans of David Wong, Paul Beatty, and George Saunders, an electrifying and wholly original collection of satirical stories that create a bitingly funny portrait of American racism, capitalism, and politics
Framed as a reference work of humorous “entries” that offer trenchant social commentary, Everything Abridged presages a dark vision of the near future but tells jokes in the face of it: An intelligence agency operative uncovers a conspiracy to generate conspiracies and realizes his participation in the scheme. A Caribbean monarch meets four decades of American presidents and adjusts his country’s foreign policy accordingly. Experiment participants are asked to bring back a gun as quickly as possible. A copywriter on a space colony advertises a weapon with the potential to destroy his home during an intergalactic war.
These and other linked stories, many of which feature a speculative bent—about being Black in America, law enforcement practices in an android society, Olympic speed walking, consumerism, nuclear war, and more—are interspersed with hilarious, one-line definitions for words ranging from abolition to zygote, creating a sharply humorous portrait of American inequality. With his singular wit, sharp prose, and shrewd observations, Dennard Dayle captures the struggles his characters face to keep hold of their sanity in a society collapsing into chaos and absurdity.