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The Blindfold Test

In the sixties Jeffrey Parker briefly attended an antiwar rally. He wasn’t all that interested, listened to a few speeches, and went home…and nothing was ever the same.

In this wildly comic novel, Parker’s brief dalliance is the beginning of the end. He never lands a decent job. Girlfriends never stick around. He has terrible stretches of bad luck, and is the unwitting victim of just plain bizarre occurrences: once, the final page in every one of the books in his library is removed.

Then Parker discovers that he’s the victim of a government plot—like the FBI’s real-life COINTELPRO—and the obsession of a rogue FBI agent who just won’t give up.

This outrageously imaginative debut is reminiscent of John Kennedy Toole’s explosive out-of-nowhere farce A Confederacy of Dunces. Part thriller, part national tragedy, and all hysterical comedy, it is devilishly entertaining even as it forces Parker, and readers, to uncover the truth not only about their country, but about themselves.

BARRY SCHECHTER is a lifelong resident of Chicago. He has written for the Paris Review, the Chicago Tribune, and theChicago Review. This is his first novel.




”Reading The Blindfold Test is a new and radical pleasure. Barry Schechter regards the dirty tricks with which life undoes his protagonist—the nightmare neighbors and prodigious happenings—with a kind of glee. We are reminded that Kafka was supposed to have held his sides laughing while he read friends his stories.” —Lore Segal, author of Shakespeare’s Kitchen

”part-comedy, part-thriller….The Blindfold Test is blanketed with paranoia, quite Kafkaesque…” NewcityLit

”The kind of novel Woody Allen and Hunter S. Thompson would’ve written together if they could’ve gotten along….That Schechter can combine HST’s gonzo morality and pacing with Allen’s deadpan is almost too much. But still, we couldn’t get enough.” —Jonathan Messinger, TimeOut Chicago

”The slapstick comedy…never entirely drowns out an undercurrent of hard-won paranoia. And the best thing that Schechter does, the thing that earns his book a deserved double take, happens when you hear the conspiratorial whispers yourself.” Philadelphia City Paper

”…a funny book with lots of local color.” Chicago Reader

”[A] playful and thought-provoking book about how — and whether — we accept our fate.” The Second Pass