A fledgling playwright and a purported vampire muddle through life’s absurdities.
Tifft’s follow-up to The Long Fire (2015) follows smoothie-shop employee Lucinda Linde and her live-in boyfriend, Dracula, who works nights for UPS and maintains that he’s a legendary monster. Lucinda initially doubted Dracula’s claims given his square teeth, “stale brown” skin, and refusal to drink from “dewy-eyed young professionals” for fear of making her jealous; she’s come to believe him, though—and not just because the alternative means that she’s dating “a deranged moron who sleeps in a coffin by day and hunts pigeons all night in a show of unsolicited loyalty.” Since Dracula is nocturnal, Lucinda spends her free time focusing on her acting class’s upcoming production of From Hell to Breakfast—a play that she anonymously co-wrote with her teacher about “celebrities dying young and turning into angels, and fallen angels coming to earth from hell to become pop celebrities.” Meanwhile, Dracula suffers memory lapses, triggering self-doubt and prompting readers to suspect his connection to a recent rash of disappearances. Tifft delivers the literary equivalent of a fever dream, complete with baroque prose, stream-of-consciousness storytelling, and alternating first-person, present-tense narratives that don’t quite sync up. An eccentric parade of bizarrely interconnected and ostensibly interchangeable characters adds to the surreal atmosphere and makes the tale feel a bit like a play, itself—something on the order of Our Town meets Waiting for Godot as imagined by David Lynch. Questions go unanswered and mysteries go unsolved, but then, that rather seems Tifft’s point.
An entertaining if inscrutable meditation on identity and the performative nature of existence.