Ian started at Avid in June of 2019, just short of celebrating his 20th year in Athens. He spent most of the last 2 decades tending hipster bars and playing loud music (some folks would say you could swap those adjectives). In fact, he’s often spotted reading in dark, noisy bars. Most of his free time is spent nose-in-book, playing old video games or rewatching classic talkie films like Midnight Madness and Cabin Boy.
In my opinion, it's very rare to see the STORY-WITHIN-A-STORY-WITHIN-A-STORY format pulled off as gracefully as Mr. O'Brien did here. And to top it off, it's a brilliant and sneaky comedy. So many re-readable character interactions... Loved it.
This book reads like a blueprint for the best of the dirtiest and darkest early Western films. It's all here: The questionable and faulty hero. The local cowards and drunks. Miners on the verge of strike. Multiple showdowns. The sacrifices of/for "Family" and/or "Friends". Way better than the movies...
Markson takes us into the mind of either A) someone suffering the trials of dementia, or B) the last person on Earth. Both scenarios worked for me. It's a highly entertaining view into cabin fever of the human brain.
Who/what were the Visceral Realists? Though bookended by the protagonist's tale of curiosity, the meat of this book sandwich is an amassment of varying opinions on its two founders that spans three decades and four continents. It reads like journalistic nonfiction which forms a bond between reader and aforementioned truth seeker. Good eats!
Wow... I'm still processing this one. It's sensory overload in three acts. ACT ONE: a bit of Primer for what's to come. ACT TWO: a brutal nightmare-journal documenting multiple creative deaths of our narrator. ACT THREE: a rollercoaster dia/monologue reminiscent of Godard's 'Weekend' or 'Contempt'. A discussion-worthy ending to boot!
In theory, there's nothing funny about war, feverously managing a trading post in the middle of the jungle, going mad working on an automobile assembly line OR scraping away a living as a broke doctor in the slums, but this snarky protagonist makes it all so in this adventure.
Here are four unique character studies, each one longer than the previous. I felt an emotional attachment for all four of the subjects which grew in intensity from story to story, so look forward to reading more Sebald in search of that fifth story or/and character.
The tale of a once-thriving ghost town told by its 'surviving' ghosts. Each apparition's narration slightly overlaps to cofabricate a shuffled timeline and scattered outcome. I tossed it into my 'Highly Re-readable' bucket.
A few glimpses and side-glimpses of a side-world in which born-into castes predetermine each character's role, but not their fate. Almost every piece of the chessboard's story is told. Loveded it.
Though it was his 'Forty Stories' collection that gatewayed my obsession with D.B., it was the story 'The Balloon' (pg. 46) that would have been all I need to get hooked. These are Death Stars™ served up as Gobstoppers™. Please don't sue me.
A must-read-and-reread for kids AND adults. A permanent resident of TopTenTerritory. Don't be fooled by the simplistic cartoony look of the Bone cousins. Both the artwork and story grow darker and more complex as the adventure advances. And hilarious? Yes, it's hilarious. "Out From Boneville" is the first collection in the series.
'The Hero's Return' from Pink Floyd's 'The Final Cut' encapsulates every one of my favorite tropes of the Roger Waters/post-Barrett era in just 2 minutes 43 seconds. A great intro for folks that only know them as a concept album or songs-the-length-of-side-B band. 'Lot 49' is Pynchon's 'Hero's Return'. A g(re)ateway to an artist that some find a little intimidating. Granted, no one ever did a laser show based on Pynchon's works, but I'd be first in line with a posse, so someone get on that.
My favorite Pynchon book. It's historical fiction and hysterical diction starring both a talking dog and an invisible duck.
Imagine you and your coworkers under the same IHOP roof, boothed throughout most of the diner. In a manic moment, you start a pancake food fight, triggering an out-of-body experience. Circling over their heads, you reveal each and every workplace/interpersonal drama with an imaginary 'reader'. Now pick up this book and imagine you're that 'reader'. This was my intro to the beautiful insanity of Antrim.
The livid viscosity of a dark tale is always well accompanied by a slick sense of humor. One bite of this macabre macaron and I was hooked. BE NICE TO ANIMALS...
If at the last second of the experiment, Thomas Pynchon wandered into the Coen Brothers' teleportation device to ask for directions, the creature emerging from the murky shadows would be this book.
(Tip: Stretches via cringing can avoid cramps caused by dint of laughter.)
I'm that sucker for time loops and/or alternate realities that gets pretty miffed when they're handled poorly. I'm SO far from miffed. I'm touched and charmed, even.
I've attempted a review free of spoilers, but there's not much that I could offer to an educated guest that wouldn't bruise this apple.
Thrown almost immediately into the action, the first half of 'Norco' slingshots the reader through a play-by-play-to-the-millisecond account of this overly-armed and loosely-organised heist, with multiple pit stops to... just... breathe...... The pace of the second half, though calmer, is no less entertaining as the trial hits more speed bumps than the high speed chase in part one.
Four stories wheelbarrowed down a potholed pathway of flawed love 'round the fecund pond in history's horribly funded public park. The cartoon-strength attitudes of the four (or five) wonderfully constructed main characters gave me the strength to accept each of their fates with que seras and a sigh.
It sure looks intimidating, but 20 pages in I was swept away by an incredibly ardent undertow. These paragraph/sentences (sentegraphs?) read like I was pulling the string of a Mattel See-N-Say, bouncing from character to character with such flawless fluidity that I occasionally had to come up for air, have a nice float, then dive right back in. An insane conclusion, to boot!
'Greenwood' boomerangs the timeline whilst remaining linear, scattering and pollinating its mysteries throughout. A family name is a nickname and time is a game of telephone. A family tree, on paper, can just look like a post-tornado pile of branch scraps. Optimism can be dark. That's when I find it most convincing.