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Asphalt Flowerhead Paperback – April 1, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"There aren't many writers, apart from Milton and Dante, who have such energy and invention, and ease of execution. This novel is tremendous, virtuosic and beautiful. Forrest Armstrong has vast talent." --- Tom Bradley, author of Fission Among the Fanatics, Lemur, and Killing Bryce

About the Author

"I like to think I have reached a state where I can observe the world from a detached location, somewhere near the clouds. I write surrealism because I think in the abstract we are closest to truth. Everything divine is surreal. I make enough money to get to whatever comes next but no more. I am writing to give you all I have felt, and nothing else - I am a vehicle and I am trying to bring my visions to the world, however I can." - Forrest Armstrong
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Crossing Chaos Enigmatic Ink (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981011772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981011776
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 3.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,207,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Forrest Armstrong is a Bizarro writer from Boston. He is the author of THE DEADHEART SHELTERS and also produces hip hop under the name Gasoline Monk. In 2007 he debuted with THIS CITY IS ALIVE, a collaboration with visual wizard Jase Daniels. The book was nominated for that year's Wonderland Award and introduced Jase and Forrest to the world--both have gone on to release other titles through publishers like Swallowdown Press and Crossing Chaos. In his off-time, Forrest chases energy in the nighttime city. If you ask him right now the prettiest thing he can imagine is if you cracked open a chestnut, egg, or a lemon and a bluebird flew out.

Customer Reviews

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For those who like to keep a well organized book collection I would suggest you place this book among your artbooks.
Eric Robinson
Drug abuse and War and the pain associated with them, generic topics, done so many times, well this particular time it is done near perfect and in under 150 pages.
Dave Anderson
The ways in which the characters develop throughout the story are just as detailed, and by the end the about-faces and new resolves are satisfying.
Edmund R. Colell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Points on January 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Is it better to live as delicate as a house of cards, when, for the stability we compromise, we stand graceful and forever reaching toward the sky?" - Asphalt Flowerhead, page 67

It's difficult to write about Forrest Armstrong's prose without first addressing his age. Nineteen years old at the time of publication, Armstrong couldn't even legally celebrate the release of his debut novel by buying himself a rum and coke. Yet he's already eked out a space as a powerful thinker with a deep heart and equally expansive imagination.

Armstrong is deeply influenced by hip-hop culture and fiction on the fringe, the book is the first I've read that seems to work the concept of "sampling" into the literary realm. Armstrong riffs on themes and motifs that would be familiar to anyone who's read William Burroughs (an important touchstone for Armstrong) and the potent repetitions of familiar "Burroughspeak" about "junkies" and "insects" are comparable to the way musicians such as Madlib and DJ Premiere flip samples and piecemeal old material into something startlingly original. There's also bits of Philip Dick's skid row dystopia as well as the aching searchings of American icons as disparate as Walt Whitman and Tupac Shukar.

Asphalt Flowerhead follows a group of brokedown artists and addicts trying to break the unsatisfactory mold of the present day and live for something new. Some characters are under the spell of a potent drug called Flash...which, it's worth noting, is a hallucinogen and not an opiate. This is important because the characters in Asphalt Flowerhead would rather explode into crystals of light than numb themselves into the dismal scenery they inhabit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric Robinson on November 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
...it's kinda like that. Asphalt Flowerhead by Forrest Armstrong will forever remain of my favorite books. For those who like to keep a well organized book collection I would suggest you place this book among your artbooks. Maybe in next to your Dali book, or anything other artist that sends those little bugs crawling inside your spine into a ticklish euphoric frenzy. The plot here in Asphalt Flowerhead is crystalline-- never once did I feel lost, even though the author introduces a flurry of tormented characters. Nor did I feel any hallucination or visions gratuitous-- and those passages are some of the most highly refined and insightful ever devised.

Passion oozes from every paragraph, the settings (which span from the grit of Boston to the devastation of a war polluted Netherlands)feel real in a swirl of surreal, yet serve only as canvases for revelations and actions.

The pacing plays out like a symphany. Opening with a cacophonous drug bust and then fading back for the quiet agony of imprisonment, misguided religions, and addiction, then gradually crescendoing into the front lines of a scam drug war and the hypnotic encounter with the ghost in the shell of a killing machine. And once again settling down as two supposed enemies converge on their sorrows and hopes.

This novel is work of art in every sense of the word. Forrest Armstrong punches the reader in the face with fists of glowing hot energy. And even though he may be relatively young, this book stands out as one of the finest works of contemporary surrealism/bizarro.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Aaron on November 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
"I do this for those who remembered love even when the world around them forgot it."

Asphalt Flowerhead is a luminously clear-headed hallucination. The feel is Requiem For a Dream meets Les Miserables, with phenomenal writing both focused and pointed and as vibrant and exploding with life as Forrest's first novel, This City is Alive. Reading this book, I felt my mind alter and expand; it helped me realize how delicate this game of existence is. From the potent, chaotic world of 'Flash' junkies (the imagined drug that fits its name), the novel is a serene whirlpool, seeming to suck downward, but always remaining afloat in the ocean of mystery, asking the one great question: Is it worth it?

While the flower in Asphalt Flowerhead may sometimes be a thorny-veined flesh-feathered needle of hope, rewarded or unrewarded, the book is inspiring and uplifting. Between the friendships, the art, the showing of "justice's" injustice, mixed with the fully-realized potential of BEING, Asphalt Flowerhead synchronizes into a beautiful bloom that proves, no matter what, art is always worth it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While a shallow observation, the first thing I noticed about Asphalt flowerhead is the small size of the book. Not the depth (it is a bit thin, but word-wise it's packed), but the length and width. However, it is pleasant to be able to cart the thing around anywhere in one's pocket and to advertise it to one's friends. The last bit is important, because Asphalt Flowerhead is a great read.

Nail the junky, Bill the artist, Brad the club owner, Chevy the scientist, and Johnny the spiritual seeker are all entangled in a plot involving a drug called flash, a war between the United States and the Netherlands over drugs, and ideological straw-grasping. All events therein are shown with hallucinatory detail that personally gave me the impression of animated graffiti murals. Hunting grillo creatures for their flash-producing organs, entering and marketing and operating in the Africa club, sending robotic soldiers to slaughter Dutch defenders, entering the realms and practices of the Hinkon-bou, being interrogated under the hallucination chamber, and other actions are rendered in beautiful detail. The ways in which the characters develop throughout the story are just as detailed, and by the end the about-faces and new resolves are satisfying.

That said, the writing is sometimes a bit melodramatic. Yes, war is terrible. Yes, the war on drugs never gets anywhere and harms more people than it helps. The problem is that the protagonists sometimes have thoughts regarding these which sound as though they are unknown insights.
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