for the last week, the insipid Fool has been under the weather. when not asleep or writing my signature shitty poetry©, i have been doing as much reading as possible and decided maybe i should do the occasional book review.
this comes with its own set of anxieties because the bulk of what i read is not what anybody would care to see a review of, dead obscure authors from Eastern Europe and Russia mostly. some classics by Verne and Twain and the ilk that have been mentioned to death or have fallen out of favor because the world changed and whitewashing history is the new whitewashing picket fences. (it literally hurts my soul realizing how few will even get that reference now).
so i decided to review my three favorite books of the last couple years. full disclosure, two of the authors listed are also two of my best friends but if you were to ask either of them, they would definitely let you know friendship means nothing when it comes to my opinion.
The Fisherman by John Langan is the first on this list and is the best work i have read since Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. the languid sorrow that infects the story burrows deeply into the reader, and even as it pulls you through time and space, it leaves its blackened hooks in my mind. this is the tale of a man that lost the love of his life and managed to fill the gaping abyss in his life with fishing. that alone was compelling enough for me. then add a second fisherman who has also suffered a great loss, but this one has an ulterior motive. what happens next transpires in two separate yet inexplicably linked eras, going into dark and unexplored places that kept me captivated. i did not quite care for the very end, but it did nothing to dilute the majesty of what came before. brilliant.
The Smell Of Cedar by River Dixon. if you haven’t read River’s fiction, you probably believe he is just one of the best poets of this modern age. you wouldn’t be wrong, but you would do yourself a great disservice. but also, if you haven’t read his fiction then you likely aren’t prepared for it based on his poetry. this is one of those stories that i loved as i read it but the power of it didn’t rear itself until days and weeks after i finished. elements of it still haunt me in the quiet times. i won’t say more, it needs to be experienced.
and last but not least, 5 Tales of Tantalizing Terror by PC3. it is frustrating dealing with PC3 as a fellow writer. he doesn’t share. he barely speaks until the beer starts flowing and when he does i have issues with his syrupy East Texas drawl (breezy nellis, his way of saying Brett Easton Ellis springs to mind), but when he writes? his style harkens back to the Golden Age of American literature, there is an easy familiarity to his cadance that pulls you in but a sardonic bite that keeps you reading. it should say something that his preface is as enjoyable as the five titular tales of tantalizing terror. like Cedar, the stories have to be experienced, but i enjoyed the little intros he included before each tale and the insights gleamed.
so that is three of my favorite books i have read that came out after 1970. maybe next time i get sick i will take you on a journey into the absurdism of Kharms and Krzhizhanovsky