So this book is ridiculous and hilarious, but also so otherworldly weird, that when I read about it, I immediately found it online and bought it.
We begin with our protagonist asking his wife if he should shave his mustache. They have been married for five years or so, are in their thirties, and things are going well. He has to shave twice a day to avoid having a five o’clock shadow, but he keeps a small, distinct mustache. It’s the 1980s.
So he shaves it off, and immediately there’s a kind of shift. He’s so excited to show his wife that he’s waiting for her when she walks in from work. She doesn’t comment. He tries to emphasize his empty lip now, and she doesn’t comment. So when he presses her on it, she confused and thinks he’s joking. He’s never had a mustache. This sets off a kind of Quixotic journey to prove to himself he’s had a mustache for years, but anyone he asks thinks he’s joking or something’s wrong. The journey starts growing exponentially as he travels farther and goes to more ridiculous lengths to find the answer: is he losing his mind or is he the subject to a world-wide conspiracy?
The book is a kind of dissection of modern life and the complacency and emptiness of late capitalism. In defining himself through his mustache he is a kind of modern, existential Samson, and once it’s gone, who is he even anymore?