Hello, publishers. 

I guess we are still trying to write the Great American Novel, for some reason. We already have “Moby-Dick,” and if that’s not your thing, we have “The Great Gatsby,” and if that’s not your thing, we have “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and if that’s not your thing, we have “Infinite Jest,” which is certainly long enough to contain the Great American Novel in it somewhere. But apparently, we are still reinventing the novel-wheel. Jonathan Safran Foer has another one out now, all 592 pages of it, in which I see that he includes a passage where a woman pleasures herself with a doorknob. If that can happen, then maybe I was wrong to think that writing a Great American Novel required skills and insights that I did not possess. But don’t worry, I am writing one now.

Here is a list of things that I am including in this book. Please send me my seven-figure advance. 

• affluent family lives in suburb. The husband (who is a professor but also a novelist) is cheating on his wife, but he thinks it falls into a moral gray area because he is a Great Man

• they expected that their lives would be different than they are, and this makes them snap at each other with words that cut deep and carry a history, which they did not used to do when they were young and in love and the world held out its hand to them and said “COME!”

• wry aside

• several paragraphs to show that the author has read Proust or Kierkegaard

• much younger student somehow really wants to sleep with this professor novelist guy. That’s cool, great, she is the aggressor in this scenario

• sex scene containing one bizarre detail that makes you worry a little bit about the author, not in a judgy way, just in a does-he-actually-think-this-is-how-that-works?-how-has-he-been-married-for-six-years? way

• author totally misunderstands Internet in way that sounds profound

• a Person Who Is Different In Symbolic Ways And Will Shake The Protagonists Out Of Their Rut arrives with a big splash

• very precocious children who sound like the Glass family (not the one from Salinger, but the family that I imagine Ira Glass has based on his voice and radio persona)

• semi-scathing parody of a social network that stopped existing 10 years ago

• satirical made-up thing that is actually tamer than its real-world equivalent

• 16 pages imagining how a woman feels about something that perfectly explain why the author is now divorced

• man stares at something and thinks sex thoughts

• young female character with twee name has a college experience that sprung fully formed from the head of a middle-aged op-ed writer

• five pages about how marriage is fundamentally unsatisfying

• gosh, this author really hates marriage

• one good simile for the reviewer

• sentence that is 18 pages long so the reviewer will have something to describe as “bravura”

• woman does something anatomically improbable

• how is this man still married?

• this woman is still going, ouch

• woman reflects on the one time when she was truly happy, before she was drafted for inclusion in this book

• 30 pages about the inevitable gaps that persist between people

• 60 pages about whales, just in case

• someone’s parents let him down

• author explains what is really wrong with politics today; it is much simpler than we thought

• painstaking description of an intricate craft or a science thing that the average reader will not be able to fact-check, which is fortunate because it is such a lovely metaphor

• exhortation about briefness of life and impossibility of human connection

• major historical tragedy, perfectly timed for the plot

• page where instead of just words there is SOMETHING ELSE like a crossword puzzle or choose-your-own-adventure or just a big drawing of something in Sharpie like Kurt Vonnegut used to make

• bird (metaphor)

• the American Dream is a lie

P.S. If it is a problem that my name is not Jonathan, I can easily change it.