Do not be deceived by the Five Star rating. I will have changed my mind about it many times, I expect, before finishing this
review reaction. I wanted to simply mark this one as Read, letting other readers debate its starredness. Or, replace those five unfilled-in stars with a .gif which would flash repeatedly: Five Stars, One Star, Five Stars, One Star, Five, One…
Others think they have plans for you but you keep a memory of your future free.
This is one of those books I should hate. Anyone who has seen my reactions to DFW, Bulgakov, Hawkes, et al. (why does “et all” look more correct?) would likely tell me: Don’t bother, Puma; leave this one alone. At another time or in another circumstance, I might feel exactly that way. Its linearity, it storyline, if you will, so jumbled, so askew; conveyed in shreds of dialogue, pulling events forward and backward before ricocheting them along on a tangent, the war story that isn’t but is, the coming of age novel, that isn’t but is; punctuation that adds little or no clarity, partially italicized words, run-on sentences (which, of course, I really like) confuse before opening up. I have visions of a frantic editor throwing up his or her hands and shouting: Who the Hell knows?
Told at a breakneck speed which demands reading at a similar pace just to keep one’s head above water. Oh, and tons of water. I couldn’t help thinking, this narrator is suffering from PTSD, something is randomizing his thoughts, making everything urgent, and I still think that’s possible, but this isn’t exactly a war novel, as the blurb suggests. It is, but it isn’t. Not exactly.
Unreal becomes real when it hits you.There’s doubledness afoot. Things begin to make sense, never for long, yet ultimately and of a sort.Logic is where and what you make of it:
”I wish I remembered everything you read to me, but I kind of do,” I said. “I remember what I didn’t,” she said.She, in this case, being the narrator’s sister…don’t ask.
And speaking of that doubledness, in a passage that seems to have been written just for me (or, perhaps, those others of you forever locked in the ‘60s):
I said I had taken a hit or two and came out better on a particular dive I had explained the competitive fine points of, though was that even it?—I had taken a hit or two.Five stars—for the fun of it, to be on the right side of (literary) history, for the hits, and most importantly, for Umo, all three-hundred pounds of him. Like most of what I read, this one won’t be for everyone—it’s frustrating, kinda crazy-making, though, for me, well worth the ride. A real, and likely wonderful review by the one, the only (coreader) Spenkerz should follow in the near future; talking this one over with him, albeit briefly, while reading made it even more fun.