Laughs Last

brody writ largeThis piece was written for Laughs Last author and Stand Up! Records humorist Dylan Brody for inclusion as back-cover copy and on various retailer websites, press releases, and whatnot. I adore whatnot.

There may not be boxes strong enough for the weight of memory, but some books can do the trick. Laughs Last is a rumination on family, legacy, talent, and the fluidity of time, a poignant dream of adulthood coming in fits and starts to our protagonist Damon Blazer. With a quick mind and an instinct to flee (preferably before getting punched, but not before getting in a punchline), Blazer comes from a family whose laughs never mean just one thing. He struggles to glean what lessons he can from his brutish and detached brother, his grieving but understanding mother, and his aloof but proud father, but it’s the inheritance of his grandfather’s lessons that truly form the backbone of Blazer’s biography. In his relationship with the storied comedian and the slow reveal of just what Damon did at his grandfather’s funeral, readers find a gripping narrative that holds our attention from the first page to the last.

The author deftly bobs and weaves through a disjointed timeline that runs like an extended callback, revealing a storyteller who can’t pause for audience reaction because he has something more important to do. By seeing the stages of grief revealed across a lifetime, readers are left to wonder whether memories are enlarged by tunnel vision or by virtue of actual weight. Is that water-colored feeling of nostalgia—available at any age—imparted by the true flow of time, or must we acquiesce to the facts of chronology? Blazer fumbles to avoid feeling foolish, to avoid being a hack, to avoid a lifetime of nothing special. And while he’s at it, we meet a novelist for a new century. Ladies and gentlemen, Dylan Brody.

About Letta Page

Founding Associate Editor and Producer (Former) The Society Pages Senior Managing Editor Contexts Magazine In Twitter terms, I self-present as a disarmingly earnest editor, translator of academia, portmanteuse, and domesticated roustabout. More professionally, I might say: I am a jargon-slayer for hire. The founding associate editor and producer of The Society Pages and current senior managing editor of Contexts magazine (the public outreach journal of the American Sociological Association), I have nearly two decades' experience in academic editing across a range of disciplines. I've edited and written copy for publications from Oxford University Press, Routledge, Taylor & Francis, W.W. Norton, the University of Chicago Press, Cambridge University Press, and many others, along with dozens of journals. As a sort of fun "palate cleanser" (trust me, when you're editing books on neoliberalism and genocide, always good to have a fallback), I write copy for organizations like Stand Up! Records and I teach cardio barre fitness classes at Six Degrees Uptown. I also have a background in the visual arts and was a founder of First Amendment Arts (now CoExhibitions) in Minneapolis, MN. I hold degrees in history and classical studies from Boston University and an art degree from the University of Minnesota. pagesmithing.com Click here to read my Friday Roundup posts on The Editors' Desk. Click here to read my contributions to Citings & Sightings.