Foreign Matter: In Trouble with My Fantasies
Toby travels with a woman who pays. He's got it made, except that her nine-year-old daughter is smarter than he is. Part of the Toby series. Original hardcover published by Atheneum/Macmillan, New York. “A very, very funny book"—The West Coast Review of Books.
“Enormously enjoyable”—Kirkus Reviews.
“Fresh and spirited”— Publishers Weekly. More
Toby travels with a woman who pays. He's got it made, except that her nine-year-old daughter is smarter than he is.
Sophisticated humor in a light international comic novel. Part of the the Toby series, including Total Moisture, The Cad and Will You Please Fuck Off?
Original hardcover published by Atheneum/Macmillan, New York.
"This was the most hilarious book I have ever read. I laughed out loud again and again. I kept thinking this is the craziest book I have ever read and why I am reading it and then I would hit another part that had me laughing some more. I was kind of sad when I finished it."—Pat Thompson, customer review (Goodreads)
The West Coast Review of Books:
Unlike so many humorous novels of today that are either bitter and biting or so outrageously silly that it leaves the reader feeling empty, this one’s truly a very, very funny book….Robert MacLean writes as a true humorist with witty observations and illuminations that wrap themselves warmly around the funny bone. Yet he is not above writing a hilarious slapstick when the need arises. MacLean’s observations on such everyday matters as flying, sleeping, eating and life in general are alone worth the price of the book. However, the addition of a wild and unpredictable plot with characters so wonderfully rich and eccentric, makes the book even more of a joy.
The high jinks of a loveable ne’er-do-well expatriate—in an often very funny novel in the style of P.G. Wodehouse or Kingsly Amis. Toby Tucker is an amiable, quite lazy young man in his late 30’s who has left New York with numerous collection agents on his tail: “Most of them couldn’t make it as thugs, and they’re bitter about it.” An energetic comedy of errors….fighting his way through blinding hangovers to somehow blunder through victoriously—but he’s enormously enjoyable while he’s at it.
Toby Tucker is the feckless, likeable hero of this comic tale of modern undirected life. After supporting himself in Europe as a tour guide, Toby takes up with Marcie, a young American widow whose allowance from Hazelton Harding, her wealthy father-in-law, guarantees a lifestyle Toby is sure he was born for. When Haze threatens to cut off Marcie so she’ll move back to the States with her daughter—a precocious youngster Toby warily refers to as “the child”—Toby alternately falls and steps into a plot to reestablish the status quo…. a happy ending for nearly every one of the vivid characters who cavort across the pages of this fresh and spirited first novel.
Books in Canada:
Engaging and stylishly written. A happy self-indulgent fugitive from the “it-isn’t-doing-you-any-good-unless it hurts society”…. The characters are drawn well, the locations (Greece) are convincingly detailed, the prose is witty and polished. As light entertainment, the book is a complete success; this is the funniest first novel I’ve read so far.
An unapologetic, unpretentious romp. In his late 30s, he has turned indolence into a vocation and “built a whole life around not getting up in the morning.” Foreign Matter works because of MacLean’s ability to build an internal comic logic into even the most preposterous episodes. Toby is irrepressible and irredeemable, a delightfully comic creation whose most exasperating quality is also his most endearing: the more we get to know him, the less we expect from him.
Santa Cruz Sentinel:
The word ‘romp’ was created to describe this funny, ebullient comedy of errors. Toby Tucker, professional cad, rake, gigolo, and always, always irresponsible… There is a Woodhouse-ian feel to this farce….a funny novel, unfettered by seriousness.
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