Indecision

  • by Benjamin Kunkel
  • Narrated by Patrick Frederic
  • 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Benjamin Kunkel's brilliantly comic debut novel concerns one of the central maladies of our time: a pathological indecision that turns abundance into an affliction and opportunity into a curse. Dwight B. Wilmerding is only 28, but he's having a midlife crisis. Of course, living a dissolute, dormlike existence in a tiny apartment and working in tech support at the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer are not especially conducive to wisdom.
And a few sessions of psychoanalysis conducted by his sister have distinctly failed to help with his biggest problem: a chronic inability to make up his mind.
Encouraged by one of his roommates to try an experimental pharmaceutical meant to banish indecision, Dwight jumps at the chance (not without some meditation on the hazards of jumping) and swallows the first fateful pill. And when all at once he is "pfired" from Pfizer and invited to a rendezvous in exotic Ecuador with the girl of his long-ago prep-school dreams, he finds himself on the brink of a new life.
The trouble, well, one of the troubles, is that Dwight can't decide if the pills are working. Deep in the jungles of the Amazon, in the foreign country of a changed outlook, his would-be romantic escape becomes a hilarious journey into unbidden responsibility and unwelcome knowledge.
How to affirm happiness without living in constant denial of the ways of the world? How to commit, and to what? At once funny and poignant, gentle and outrageous, finely intelligent and proudly silly, Indecision rings with a voice of great energy and originality, while its deeper inquiries reflect the concerns and style of a generation.

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What the Critics Say

"Deeply satisfying....The funniest and smartest coming-of-age novel in years....Kunkle manages, just barely, to preserve the superb comic tone of the novel, even as he gestures, like some literary voice in the wilderness, toward a hazy new frontier of hip sincerity, of irony subordinated to a higher calling." (Jay McInerney, The New York Times Books Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

well it leads you to think its good

This novel has to be the first time I have stopped listening to a book, let alone with only 10 minutes of the audiobook left. Throughout the entire book the characters pretend to be philosophically searching for some sort of purpose or social order that the protagonist is continually revising, while journeying through his therapy sessions, adventures from Connecticut to Ecuador, and medicating that is both pseudo and self prescribed. It waxes about a generation jaded and freed of the cold war and thrown into the war on terrorism. Goes on at length about the abundacy of choices provided by a "neo-liberal/neo conservative"(charcter says they are one in the same) political economy. How realtionships suck in New York, And says democratic socialism is the greatest thing on earth.
Basically the main character is an insufferable character that never reaches any intelligent conclusions though he speaks philosophically on EVERYTHING...AND in the end his choice illustrates how thourghly ignorant and malfunctioning he really is, besides not wanting to do anything truly productive in his life other than get high and have sex(the entire book is about that immature). The author also ends the book as if it needs some sort of ridiculous movie style ending with the protagnist making a jackass out of himself in public. I guess I'll never really know how that situation turned out for the character, but I've never cared less about anything in my entire life.
If the character had more Don Quixote loveability and less unexcuseable pathetic, pretend to know that he has a valid stance (while he's preaching; I meant all the time). I might have listened to the last 10 minutes.

I give it 2 stars only because the prose is decent at times and conatins an occassionally funny line. Story and characters aren't worh the investment.
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- Gerard

Shallow and wooden

unique and neurotic is always good..pretending to be unique and neurotic is terrible. This book has no depth, is circular and read like a 3rd rate cable show.
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- Chris

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-02-2005
  • Publisher: Random House Audio