Normally, when an Academy Award-nominated actor decides to write fiction, alarm klaxons go off in the sensible reader. Is this a privileged yahoo convinced that talent in one area will translate into artistic skill in another medium? Luckily, Jesse Eisenberg isn’t trying to write the great American novel. He’s writing short comic pieces—which, if you’ve been fortunate enough to read them in The New Yorker or McSweeney’s, you know are damn entertaining. He possesses a droll wit and a gift for economy with his language, sketching funny portrayals of insecure loners and over-caffeinated go-getters alike, not to mention the occasional reimagined scene from history.
His new collection, Bream Gives Me Hiccups, assembles these assorted misfits and set pieces into a singular bundle, and now, the audiobook is available, with the added bonus of Eisenberg himself reading it. Mostly, he’s the narrator, but will periodically step aside to let others perform the dialogue in his imagined exchanges. The excerpt below is from a selection called “If She Ran Into Me Now…,” and features Eisenberg as an over-the-top ex-boyfriend obsessing over all the self-improvement he’s embarked upon after getting dumped by his girlfriend—solely to dazzle her should they meet again, of course. The audiobook is available now from Audible.