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The Adventures of the Pisco Kid Paperback – March 15, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Standaert's unconventional first novel follows Pisco, a disillusioned rodent exterminator and taxidermy enthusiast. The main thrust of Pisco's life is spent killing bats and rats, attempting to coexist with a ragtag assembly of neighbors and lamenting the tragic death of his apartment building's handyman Paul Putty. Pisco's unhinged, naturally suspicious mother (who calls him by his given name, "Moses") is a black Jamaican woman who adopted him; she and her much younger boyfriend, "Fly Boy," add little to his life of joyless annoyances, the zaniness of which is mind-bogglingly excessive: Pisco is bitten by a bat and develops rabies-like symptoms, he's fired then beaten down after vomiting on his boss' shoes, he wrestles emotionally with being an adoptee, then finds his friend Father John dead after a night of drinking and winds up in jail accused of murder (and is then rescued by a great flood)-all while corresponding with a gal named Sarah Ellen Roberts who may or may not be his niece. The author of Skipping Towards Armageddon: The Politics and Propaganda of the Left Behind Novels and the LaHaye Empire (Soft Skull) and a blogger at the Huffington Post, Standaert targets the soulless options for 21st century living in this frenetic, bitterly funny paean to defeat.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Arriviste Press, Inc.; First Edition edition (March 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974627038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974627038
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,870,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Standaert is a freelance journalist currently serving as a special correspondent for Bloomberg BNA, primarily covering regulatory and legal matters related to environmental and trade policy in China and Southeast Asia. A recent contributor to GlobalPost and MIT Technology review, Standaert has also written for a wide variety of other publications as a journalist in the US and Europe since 1997. Before coming to China in 2007, Standaert published the novel The Adventures of the Pisco Kid and the non-fiction work Skipping Towards Armageddon. He lives in Shenzhen in southern China with his wife and daughter.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jason DeBoer on August 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Standaert revives a now sadly neglected genre: the picaresque novel. Full of savage humor a la Burroughs and Celine, there are few subjects that Standaert's acid does not rain upon. If you're sick of wimpy contemporary satires, you'll be delighted with the downright dangerous Adventures of the Pisco Kid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter W. Ivanic on July 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Mr. Standaert has created a whole new writing style with his effort, The Adventures of the Pisco Kid. Clearly a disciple of Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski, with maybe a hint of Robert Hunter mixed in, Standaert's first novel is a good one. When I grow up I know for sure.....the rodent business is not for me. Long live Pisco!!!!
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Format: Paperback
Michael Standaert makes his bid to be the next William Burroughs or Hunter Thompson. Pisco Kid is a ribald, tumbling, sometimes sprawling, always biting novel, which skewers every important canard of the last decade. Pisco is the self-picked name of an exterminator who forsakes his "given name"of Moses for his more cowboy-sounding nom de plume, despite the protestations of the Jamaican mother who "found" him in a mall.

While Pisco Kid does not always keep the clear trajectory of a novel like Fear and Loathing, it makes up for its occasional wanderings with great intensity. (Interestingly, the drawings that illustrate Pisco seem in the style of Ralph Steadman's artwork for Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.) This novel announces the arrival of an important satirist on the American fiction scene.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kaolin Fire on July 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
The thing about Pisco is, he can't catch a break. The kid is winless. But he keeps moving, keeps reaching despite the waves of destruction that follow him. Surfing his wake is worth the risk, though. Michael Standaert takes the reader on one hell of a trip in The Adventures of the Pisco Kid.

Set in the current day and age, the book opens with a quote from Robinson Jeffers: "When you go down, make a good sunset." Standaert gives us the sunset of a lifetime, building up to it with a series of fantastical events and coincidences that befall Pisco. When we meet him, he's about to lose his job (as a rodent exterminator, which this reader finds delightfully ironic, considering the end of this ride). There's been a death in the neighborhood, and everyone's abuzz with the news and funeral preparations. By walking us through the community, Standaert introduces many of the characters who will have their chance at rolling the dice with Pisco, for to be in proximity to Pisco is to make a crapshoot out of one's life.

It doesn't take long for Standaert to set things in motion. Fascinated by the postcards addressed to the nearly departed that somehow wend their way through his mail slot, Pisco starts answering them and is delighted and surprised when he receives a response. Thus begins his quest: to find the mysterious Sarah Ellen Roberts, postcard authoress. It takes him out of The City on the crest of a murderous flood. He is borne aloft by Nellie the clown--a neighbor--who capitalizes on her seemingly limitless expansion and makes a raft of herself to bear Pisco down the Atlantic coast. On their way they find the leader of a gang of wastrels (who entertained Pisco when he was left for dead at the dump) and take him along.
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