Donald Antrim's most recent novel, The Hundred Brothers, was more than just inspired lunacy. The book was virtuoso lunacy, taking a family reunion of 100 directly related brothers, ranging in age from the young to the extremely old, and somehow giving each of them a distinctly eccentric personality. A hundred people eating dinner in one room is bound to result in chaos, and Antrim reveled in the mass confusion and fraternal conflict. At first, The Verificationist seems to mine similar territory. Tom is a psychoanalyst who has organized a series of pancake dinners for his colleagues, who gather in the purported neutral environment to relax and enjoy each other's company. As more psychologists arrive, each bringing along his own personal baggage and quirks, the proceedings gradually grow less cordial and more confusing. Yet where The Hundred Brothers was a delirious portrait of the collapse of a collective mass consciousness, The Verificationist is more specific. Tom can't help psychoanalyzing everything around him, which means that each second's minor action results in several minutes of extreme internal thought, often hilarious digressions about indecision. But when a young waitress forces him to make a choice—eggs or blueberry pancakes?—Tom snaps, embarking on a hallucinatory out-of-body trip to the roof of the pancake house and beyond, where he warily eyes his nemesis in the adjoining group of child psychiatrists and analyzes his own life through the actions of others until all he knows, loves, or understands collapses around him. The Verificationist is even stranger than its predecessor, but its protagonist's emotions are rooted closer to real life. Are Tom's fears of having a child merely indications of his own immaturity, or is his immaturity a defense mechanism in response to his wife's desire for children? Is his wife really interested in an affair with his lothario coworker, or is that just a foolish fantasy stemming from inherent fears of family, the ultimate commitment? Is his desire for the waitress authentic, or just a subconscious metaphor for fatherhood and another excuse to shirk the tacit responsibilities of adulthood and marriage? Antrim's anarchy is both hilarious and sad, his prose meticulously convoluted, and his mental-health professionals predictably crazy, but he demonstrates that reality and the bizarre don't have to be mutually exclusive.