Charlie Kaufman Wrote A Novel About A Film Critic Who Watches A 3-Month-Long Movie

Charlie Kaufman wrote a very Charlie Kaufman-sounding novel, and I can't wait to read it. Kaufman, the scribe behind Being John MalkovichAdaptationEternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Anomalisa, and more, will release Antkind, a novel about a neurotic film critic (is there any other kind?) who stumbles upon a three-m0nth-long movie. More on the Charlie Kaufman novel below.

Ready for something new from Charlie Kaufman? I sure am. Kaufman's next film is the Netflix adaptation of I'm Thinking of Ending Things, but that's not all he has headed our way. There's also Antkind, his new novel that sounds pretty damn wild. The book follows a "neurotic and under-appreciated film critic" – which, honestly, is all film critics I know, myself included – who happens to find an extremely long movie that might be the "last great hope of civilization." Here's the full synopsis, via Random House:

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.

Like I said: I can't wait to read this. According to EW, the publisher acquired Antkind in 2012. "I've been talking to Charlie about this novel for almost eight years and watching it change and recalibrate and grow," said Ben Greenberg, VP and Executive Editor at Random House. "Antkind is a hilarious, devastating, epic mindfuck. I've never read anything else like it."

Kaufman added: "There are no budgetary limitations in a novel. There is no studio oversight. There are no focus groups. In fact, this book is in part about that; it's about an impossible movie."

Antkind will arrive May 12, 2020. See the cover below.