Mark Dunn returns for his third novel with MacAdam Cage with Ibid, a novel written entirely in footnotes Being one of those rare birds who actually reads footnotes, comments Dunn, I often find myself rewarded by my time spent in the margins Many authors give themselves wonderful license in their footnotes to let their guard down, even get a little frisky and mischievous And so the idea for Ibid was born Dunn pushes this propensity to the limit, and has created a full length hilarious novel entirely upon the margins of a fictitious text Ibid tells the fictional story of Jonathan Blashette, great American entrepreneur and humanitarian, illuminating his life,, offering, along the way, glimpses into the lives of many of those who populated his expansive world A comedic Typhoid Mary, Jonathan s life makes us both wince and laugh at those misplaced intentioned and the ideals of a century that perhaps took itself just a little too seriously Dunn holds up a funhouse mirror at the pedestaled residents of the age and asks why so many of the famous ones did so many stupid things and rarely got called for them


10 thoughts on “Ibid: A Life

  1. Carla Carla says:

    This book is a story told entirely in end notes Interesting premise, but have you ever tried to read 230 some pages of end notes back to back It s extraordinarily tedious If you are ADD and enjoy the equivalent of very short chapters, then you might enjoy this book But only if you have a darned good working knowledge of 20th century social history I mean, it makes a Deanna Durbin reference Raise your hand if you know who Deanna Durbin is btw, Camille, do you still have the letter she sent This book is a story told entirely in end notes Interesting premise, but have you ever tried to read 230 some pages of end notes back to back It s extraordinarily tedious If you are ADD and enjoy the equivalent of very short chapters, then you might enjoy this book But only if you have a darned good working knowledge of 20th century social history I mean, it makes a Deanna Durbin reference Raise your hand if you know who Deanna Durbin is btw, Camille, do you still have the letter she sent you I m giving it two stars for mentioning the Boston Molassacre of 1919 and the Coconut Grove fire of 1946 ish


  2. Chelsea Chelsea says:

    A totally out there premise after the author sent his intensively researched and completely comprehensive biography of Jonathan Blashette to his editor, it was lost in an unfortunate reading in the bath incident And all that was left was the footnotes which is exactly what we get here Wacky and funny, and definitely not a format for everyone, but a lot of fun Seriously, the titles of the fictional books he references are wonderful in an of themselves I need to reread this stat.


  3. Mic Mic says:

    At times this book is a little too absurd and appears to be trying too hard, and it s not all that engaging as a story, but the concept is creative and it has some very funny parts Ex It was not clear if she ate lye and died, or ate dye and lied, claiming blue tongues ran in her family That passage hooked me on this book.


  4. Donald Quist Donald Quist says:

    I can appreciate this book for its premise and I applaud Dunn for attempting to tell a tale entirely through end notes, but it fails miserably as a novel This is one of the best examples of bad experimental fiction When compared to other novelists who have ventured these waters without going into the deep end, Junot Diaz, Steven Hall, Chuck Palahniuk, etc., Ibid highlights Dunn s weakness He can t tie together this series of anecdotes into a narrative worth telling, and by using the footnote I can appreciate this book for its premise and I applaud Dunn for attempting to tell a tale entirely through end notes, but it fails miserably as a novel This is one of the best examples of bad experimental fiction When compared to other novelists who have ventured these waters without going into the deep end, Junot Diaz, Steven Hall, Chuck Palahniuk, etc., Ibid highlights Dunn s weakness He can t tie together this series of anecdotes into a narrative worth telling, and by using the footnote concept he sort of doesn t have to We excuse him because this is innovative and we re expected to like it for the sake of what it represents, someone trying to do something new with fiction But I d argue a better writer might have been able to pull this off


  5. Leah Lucci Leah Lucci says:

    I ve been reading this book since August, and am finally throwing in the towel I just can t bring myself to complete it The conceit of this literary experiment is as follows There s a biography of this three legged circus fellow that s been lost All that s left is the footnotes, which have been published in lieu of the actual content The footnotes are, for the most part, funny embellishments on things off screen, as it were Which would have been charming as a short story, but becomes t I ve been reading this book since August, and am finally throwing in the towel I just can t bring myself to complete it The conceit of this literary experiment is as follows There s a biography of this three legged circus fellow that s been lost All that s left is the footnotes, which have been published in lieu of the actual content The footnotes are, for the most part, funny embellishments on things off screen, as it were Which would have been charming as a short story, but becomes tiresome in novel format I feel bad for writing it because I love Mark Dunn his Ella Minnow Pea is superlative But this just didn t work for me


  6. Nicole Nicole says:

    A biography about a three legged circus freak told entirely in footnotes Sounds great, right I bought it because I really liked Dunn s Ella Minnow Pea Unfortunately, I got bored and abandoned Ibid The inventive format could only take me so far In the end, I guess I just didn t care about what s his name or any of his legs.


  7. Claire Claire says:

    Interesting premise, but it often felt like the author was trying much too hard to be funny.


  8. Annie Annie says:

    Ibid is another delightfully off kilter work of metafiction by Mark Dunn This is not a traditional novel by any means It opens with a handful of letters between Mark Dunn and his editor that explain the unusual format of the book Mark accidentally destroyed one copy of the manuscript of a biography of Jonathan Blashette, a three legged man with an uproariously bizarre life The editor s son accidentally destroyed the other All that s left are the endnotes One might think that endnotes a Ibid is another delightfully off kilter work of metafiction by Mark Dunn This is not a traditional novel by any means It opens with a handful of letters between Mark Dunn and his editor that explain the unusual format of the book Mark accidentally destroyed one copy of the manuscript of a biography of Jonathan Blashette, a three legged man with an uproariously bizarre life The editor s son accidentally destroyed the other All that s left are the endnotes One might think that endnotes aren t enough to tell a man s life story In the case of Ibid, one would be proven wrong Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.


  9. Chrisanne Chrisanne says:

    Let me preface this by saying I m a huge fan of the Author s Ella Minnow Pea Due to the middling reviews on this book I very nearly removed it from my list I m so glad I didn t But, you might say, you only gave it 3 stars True Let me explain Dunn s creative concept is this to tell a story completely in footnotes He succeeds partly Is the story told Yes Did he effectively spoof historical works Absolutely Are some good laughs had along the way Sure However, just like I would any Let me preface this by saying I m a huge fan of the Author s Ella Minnow Pea Due to the middling reviews on this book I very nearly removed it from my list I m so glad I didn t But, you might say, you only gave it 3 stars True Let me explain Dunn s creative concept is this to tell a story completely in footnotes He succeeds partly Is the story told Yes Did he effectively spoof historical works Absolutely Are some good laughs had along the way Sure However, just like I would any historical notes section, I skimmed the majority of the text Either that is a sign of it s brilliance or it is a sign of it s failure to create content that is intriguing I, pessimistically, chose the latter because I would prefer not to read it again


  10. Cath Ennis Cath Ennis says:

    I really wanted to like this bookI loved Ella Minnow Pea, and the concept of a story told only through footnotes sounded similarly clever and interesting Turns out you can indeed tell a story solely through footnotes, but this particular story just really didn t grab me, and I felt nothing for any of the characters There are some nice little touches and clever wordplay, but overall this was disappointing.