ARISE AND WALK by Barry Gifford


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 Gifford (Night People, 1992, etc.) starts off this patchwork quilt of insanity by pairing quotes from the Bible (from which the title is culled) and from filmmaker Sam Peckinpah: ``Despair is the only unforgivable sin, and it's always reaching for us.'' Somehow, in Gifford's fundamentally twisted world, Jesus and Peckinpah seem like a natural pairing. Along with Bible-spouting and blood-spurting, the neon cast of characters go in for deviant sex, perverted politics, and...well, you name it. But no matter how low they sink (and that's very low, indeed), despair cannot grasp them. So that's something--and generally all--you can say for them. There's Cleon Tone, former pastor of the Church of the Fresh Start in Daytime, Ark., whose fall from grace leads him to seek redemption through assassination; his intended victim, Klarence Koscuisko Krotz, the Real American Party candidate for governor of Louisiana and love toy of Bulgarian sardine czar and avid pederast Zvatiff Thziz-Tczili; televangelist Presciencia ``Precious'' Espanto, charismatic and bisexual leader of the Church of the Ungrateful, whose throngs of multiracial supporters listen, entranced, to her prophecies as Krotz schemes to win her--and them- -over to his candidacy; and Marble Lesson (a holdover from Night People whose longevity is remarkable in Gifford's corpse-ridden world), 16-year-old feminist and head of a radical faction within the Mary Mother of God Rape Crisis Center that espouses elimination of any male guilty of violence toward women. What's it all about? Not much, really. There's a good dose of hard-core feminism, a dash of political satire, a smattering of aberrant sex scenes. The author's attention span seems shorter than that of a 13- year-old MTV addict; Arise and Walk reads more like the literary equivalent of sound bites than a novel.

Pub Date: July 7th, 1994
ISBN: 0-7868-6013-8
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1994


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