Last we heard, Charlie Kaufman was in the process of writing and directing an adaptation of Iain Reid’s 2016 novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things for Netflix, and the good news is that still seems to be happening and the movie is still expected to be released early next year. However, now we have another intriguing Kaufman project to look forward to in 2020 as well: his very first novel. The book is called Antkind and it revolves around a failed film critic who discovers a lost three-month long movie from a reclusive auteur and takes it upon himself to bring it to the world. The official plot synopsis is as follows:
“B. Rosenberger Rosenberg, neurotic and underappreciated film critic (failed academic, filmmaker, paramour, shoe salesman who sleeps in a sock drawer), stumbles upon a hitherto unseen film by an enigmatic outsider—a film he’s convinced will change his career trajectory and rock the world of cinema to its core. His hands on what is possibly the greatest movie ever made, a three-month-long stop-motion masterpiece that took its reclusive auteur ninety years to complete, B. knows that it is his mission to show it to the rest of humanity. The only problem: The film is destroyed, leaving him the sole witness to its inadvertently ephemeral genius.
All that’s left of this work of art is a single frame from which B. must somehow attempt to recall the film that just might be the last great hope of civilization. Thus begins a mind-boggling journey through the hilarious nightmarescape of a psyche as lushly Kafkaesque as it is atrophied by the relentless spew of Twitter. Desperate to impose order on an increasingly nonsensical existence, trapped in a self-imposed prison of aspirational victimhood and degeneratively inclusive language, B. scrambles to re-create the lost masterwork while attempting to keep pace with an ever-fracturing culture of “likes” and arbitrary denunciations that are simultaneously his bête noire and his raison d’être.
A searing indictment of the modern world, Antkind is a richly layered meditation on art, time, memory, identity, comedy, and the very nature of existence itself—the grain of truth at the heart of every joke.”
Kaufman has supposedly been working on the novel since 2012 and it is described as an “epic mindfuck.” If you’re wondering whether this might get turned into a movie eventually, Kaufman himself notes, “There are no budgetary limitations in a novel. There is no studio oversight. There are no focus groups.” It sounds like this will be Kaufman in his most undiluted form. Random House will release Antkind in stores on May 12th, 2020. Do you plan on checking out Charlie Kaufman’s debut novel?