The answer is a definitive, sort of.
Our favorite Kazakh journalist has left the big screen behind and has recently released his first foray into the world of literature: Borat: Touristic Guidings to Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan; Touristic Guidings to Minor Nation of U.S. And A.
Pretty much all one needs to know about this book can be discerned from the title. The atrocious grammar and throttling of the English language that makes Borat so endearing in person is wholeheartedly carried over to the printed word. And so, we find words that sound funny onscreen, such as anoos, and struggle over them when they appear in the book.
Yes, the words lose some of their humor on the way to the printer, but are not entirely stripped bare. The book remains quite funny and equally disturbing in a demented sort of way, providing a slew of yucks on nearly every page. Some of the humor is subtle, such as an oversized Kazakhstan on a world map or the corresponding legend where X’s located near nuclear power plants, indicate “Regions of much retardation and ‘Strange Ones.”‘
A good part of the humor focuses on Onion-style absurdity. “It take me 7 week to qualify a doctor.” Borat comments in a section dealing with his education. “One of first operation I perform was to remove a demon that live inside the head of my brother Bilo. I do everything correct – I chisel hole exact size of kestrel egg and place dry fish inside Bilo’s head to scare the demon but unfortunate demon become angry with us and make Bilo a retard.” Okay, so you get the idea.
The rest of the humor borders on the more graphic–I’ve never owned a book with so many photos of penises. And barnyard animals. Ugh.
Nonetheless, Borat’s freshman remains an entertaining read best enjoyed in snippets when you’re looking for a little laugh to brighten up the day–but be careful because you’re just as likely to be freaked out or disgusted. But, I guess some people like that.
I suppose my only complaint, outside of the penises, of course, is the production overkill. The actual layout of the book is intended to appear as though it was produced in a third world nation that can’t afford all the same font, non-pixilated photographs, or even a ruler to ensure everything is aligned. Frankly, it’s a bit bothersome and the joke becomes worn-out very quickly. Just a few of these planned mistakes would have provided far more humor.
But I laughed, nonetheless, and that’s the whole idea of the book, isn’t it?