Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Insane City

Go To

Insane City is a 2013 novel by Dave Barry, his first solo novel since Tricky Business.

Seth is a low level worker who makes a living tweeting about douche, but he's somehow caught the eye of Tina, a rich and outspoken woman who has agreed to marry him. They are having their wedding in Miami, and all Seth has to do is show up in his tuxedo, with the ring. Simple, right?

Not quite. Over the course of 3 days, he has to deal with missing luggage, a stripper and her large boyfriend demanding money, a family of Haitian refugees, a large and aggressive Orangutan, the Russian mafia, and accidentally distributed pot brownies.

In other words, your typical Barry novel.


This work contains examples of:

  • Conspicuous Consumption: Wendell Corliss ends up buying two restaurants for well over their actual value simply because he was jonesing for some pizza and Chinese. He even has the Chinese delivered by helicopter. In the epilogue, Corliss hires Marty to buy up businesses and lose money because he finds it amusing.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Seth, despite his efforts to walk away from the situation, finds himself compelled to keep helping Laurette and her babies.
  • Citizenship Marriage: How the Haitians stay in America in the end.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Seth's parents bring pot brownies to the wedding, which end up distributed among the guests.
  • Fiction 500: Mike Clark is ludicrously wealthy, but he is envious of Wendell Corliss, who's even wealthier. Having been admitted to the "Group of Eleven," a cabal of rich individuals, Mike becomes obsessed with gaining membership to the "Group of Six", a smaller cabal of richer individuals, of whom Wendell is rumored to be one. He gets his wish... only to become obsessed with rumors of the "Group of Four".
  • Advertisement:
  • Fluffy Tamer: Duane, who is known throughout the region as the guy to call when you need a snake wrangled. His own snake, a 17-foot albino Burmese python, is named Blossom.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Duane's python is named Blossom. There's also an orangutan named Trevor.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: Discussed. Wendell Corliss gets stoned, and realizes he's worked all his life for money he never gets to enjoy because he's working all the time. When he asks if this is higher understanding, Marty tells him no, he's just realizing something that's blindly obvious.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: LaDawne, who genuinely cares for the Haitian family and even offers to relieve Seth of his debt if he continues harboring them.
  • Lost Wedding Ring: It's a sign of how much Seth cares that he is willing to go through all manner of absurdities to get back the ring that Tina had specially made for the wedding; it's a sign of how little she cares that after the wedding has been called off, she brushes off his attempt to return it.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Billionaire Wendell Corliss' Swedish third wife, Greta, originally worked for his family as an au pair, and "compensated for her humble origins by treating all forms of hired help like cockroaches."
  • Only in Florida: A man is about to get married to the woman of his dreams but ends up embroiled in a tangled web involving (but nowhere limited to) Haitian refugees, absurdly rich men, two violent ex cops, a stripper and her intimidating boyfriend, a pirate boat, and an orangutan. And it all unfolds in Miami.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: Meghan. At least until the end.
  • Runaway Groom: Seth in the end.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Mike Clark has yet to find a problem he can't pay to go away, whether it be annoying jetskiers or terrified refugees.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Tina stands up for social causes and speaks out against institutional problems...only when it's convenient for her.
  • The Stoner: Meaghan, Tina's younger sister, is smoking a joint or about to smoke a joint in most scenes she's in. Sid and Rose, Seth's parents, have started using medicinal marijuana but haven't quite got the hang of it yet.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: Unlike Barry's first two novels, this one has no actual villains. Even Mike Clark just wants to turn the Haitians in to INS because he doesn't want his daughter's wedding to be ruined.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Wendell Corliss is supposed to be one of the six richest people on the planet, but his statement about his net worth puts his wealth at around $36.5 billion, a large amount but nowhere near the top of the real-life list.