Mr. Wilson's Cabinet Of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Techno logy by Lawrence Weschler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Somewhere between a Sotheby's catalog and a bizarre issue of McSweeney's, Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder is . . . well, a cabinet of wonder. If Devo, They Might Be Giants, and Talking Heads all ate way too much turkey, then had a collective dream set in a museum, this is the book they'd write. It's one of those great books where the line between fiction and non-fiction is blurred, both by auctorial intent and by the subject matter itself. This is a deliciously misleading book, full of subterfuge and teasings, a shadow play of fact and fiction mixing popular culture, philosophy, the history of science, and a touch of political intrigue. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what kind of writing this is. Is it journalism? Is it fiction? Is it creative non-fiction? Do I really care? This is unabashed writing; indulgent, with moments of brilliance. Alas, it was all over too soon. All the more reason to go visit the subject of the book, The Museum of Jurassic Technology, the next time I'm out California way (which is every couple of years, since The Parents live out there). If you can't visit the museum itself (I have yet to do so myself, but will be remedying that), put on a beanie cap, play some Devo, eat as much turkey as you can handle, and read this book through a kaleidoscope while reciting aloud Pliny the Elder, Charles Darwin, and Hunter S. Thompson as if rewritten by Terry Gilliam and . . . well, you get the idea. Or not. It doesn't really matter, does it? Speaking of not mattering, are you aware that you can buy a Devo action figure? No, really!
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