Friday, March 03, 2006


I got this book.
Only, I didn't get it at all.

And thus I put off writing it up, for fear of making myself look foolish. Then I posted that ninja pic, and the whole foolish aspect seemed rather pointless.

R'lyeh has risen, Cthulhu is dreaming loudly, and all the world has gone to shit. Jack Kerouac, a writer with a loose grip, traipse about what is left of nonsense America looking for Neal Cassady, who may or may not have the fate of the whole world in his pocket. William S. Burroughs comes along for the ride.

That's what the book is, but I'm not sure I could tell you what it was about.

It's a little piece of brilliance, I know that much. That, is a voice. A well sculpted and consistant and unique voice that will hang around narrating your life if you let it. Without that voice, the story would just dribble away. The lines on the back say its bebop, jazz and the like. I liked it. At first, it seemed it was all telling, and then so much telling that I couldn't pause to take a breath and was drowning in this weird funky world, but by then it didn't matter. It had started, and wouldn't let me stop reading.

(I have occasionally been accused of keeping information from the reader. This book does that, and does it very well. After all, what is there that you can really be certain of when the Elder Gods come knocking?)

There were moments when it reached wonderful leverls of absurdity, with Jack throwing Bill at trains, Bill poking around the edges of an orgy, the little devil bugs screaming "Nooooooo!" as the bug spray of the end of the world hit them.

But I still didn't get it. I'd guess it is because I've never quite grasped what the bohemian/beatnik movement really meant. I've never quite been able define it to my satisfaction, and I probably never will, because I missed it entirely. As a result, I can see entire layers of cake that just passed me by.

Possibly I don't get America, either.

Cthulhu, however, I get. Got all that, and adored it. Throwing the map out the window was fantastic. The portray of actually walking through such an event was great, really great. Perhaps I'll be a mugwump when R'lyeh rises.

Verdict: Good book? Yes. Mildly obfusccated? Yes. Does it matter? Hell no.


  1. Anonymous3/3/06 04:01

    Unrelated to your review: I don't understand why some publishers feel the need to subtitle their book with "A Novel." You don't get "Approaches to Multivariable Calculus - A Textbook".

  2. Wow. It's cool that you can be so open to something you don't understand... I'd be like, punching the book, going "fulfil your promise! Be more attuned to me!", but I've been told I'm an unreasonable reader...

    I dunno if I get the beat thing either... I loved The Dharma Bums though... and I would have liked to be a hippie...

  3. Stu, you should subtitle yourself, "A person".

  4. Ben, well, I either admit I didn't get it, so people just shrug at me, or I bluff, and bluff badly, and people call me out for being a liar who didn't get it, and the world ends.


    Stu, I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say it's because a text book is a text book. You pick up a fiction book, you could be getting a novel, or a colleciton, or an anthology, or a couple of novellas, or a stab in the eye with a fork.