The bizarre tale of two twisted paths through life.
John and Max know very little about each other. Max’s existence is a desperately empty, lonely one, as he gets ready to undergo a seemingly pointless surgery that will essentially render him useless from the neck down. John’s entrance is a bit more animated: He comes crashing through the door of his apartment while in the middle of hot and heavy foreplay with a woman. As he hops after his girl in an effort to take off his pants, he slams into a wall, breaking a picture frame and cutting his foot. Their goal met, the two fall into a deep sleep, and John wakes in a disheveled, blood-soaked bed. That’s where things stop making sense. As Max gets his strange surgery, John’s life becomes one surreal event after another. Apparently, the vagueness is part of an attempt to have the reader arrive at his or her own conclusion as to whether it’s all actually happening and why. Early on, however, readers may get the sense that they’ve missed something; they may even page back to see what it was. After realizing nothing has been missed, the sense of expectation may be heavily dampened. It’s not long after this that the mind becomes a bit overwhelmed and exhausted by the endless stream of peculiarities, making the “why” of it all even more questionable. Written in the bend of heavy-hitting literary stars of the past, the far-out story deeply relies on symbolism and metaphor. Even when Willis doles out snippets of clarity and a tidbit of reality, it’s difficult to accept it as such. This formidable debut will therefore either alienate easygoing readers or ingratiate itself into the hearts of those who relish the considerable challenge of deciphering and appreciating the meaning behind the madness.
Only for readers who like their literature on the strange side.