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The Columbine Pilgrim
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
"[...] pretty teenage girls are probably the cruelest, most hateful species to walk the earth; being young, pert, and beautiful, they have all the power in the world at their disposal; imbibing, as they do, this intoxicating power on a daily basis, they quickly become drunk with it, and the harsh inebriation spreads to all the pores of their being, soon overwhelming any goodness that had previously occupied their souls." (From Tony Meander's musings on page 32).

Before I started reading this slim volume, I was somewhat sceptical if it would be my cup of tea or not (I feared the latter). For large parts of the book, I was thinking to myself: 'Man, why am I reading this gloomy tale? This is quite unsettling'. Then, the second part came, and I 'got it'. Kudos, Mr. Nowicki: you made me read your book in one sitting! Andy Nowicki has been a rather prolific author these last few years, with his published novels (which I'll be sure to read shortly): Under the Nihil,Considering Suicide and The Doctor and the Heretic and Other Stories. Nowicki was known to me as a skilled polemicist from such internet venues as Counter-Currents Publishing and Alternative Right, where he comes off as a very sensible man with a Catholic bent, and a calm gentleman-like persona. Boy, was I surprised when I started reading this twisted tale of bullying, teenage angst, sexual frustration and downright murder! Bullying has been one of those things I just won't stand for in my life, picking on people for no reason except their ability to do so, is such a cowardly action it makes me sick, and I'm glad to say I've intervened in such episodes where they have arisen. Now, I'm no adherent to the psychoanalytic movement with their elaborate hoax (you can read all about that in The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements), but I suspect that the author can relate at least to parts of what his creation Tony Meander (the protagonist) had to live through growing up (then again, apart from a very few that managed to grow up blissfully unaware of the direction society has taken, I suspect this grim tale will raise a few acknowledging eyebrows as his readers remember growing up). As publisher Greg Johnson (author of Confessions of a Reluctant Hater) writes in a blurb, Nowicki has here given us a deeper explanation with this slim tale on the grisly subject of mass-murder in modernity than many a scholarly work has.

For, I believe many a man (yes, I believe this is mostly a male phenomena, but I could be wrong) can relate to the musings of Meander on page 6: "I'm a man, not a username". For, the atomization we are experiencing now due to the onslaught of modernity has wrecked more lives than can be counted, yet we are supposed to be happy and praise our would-be masters that we live in such a 'blessed age'. If you are even looking at this book, I suspect you have a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that from time to time scream otherwise to you. I sincerely wish that this book will be read by many, for I believe it holds the power to save quite a few lives in the future, if the message within it is taken to heart. Someone must step out of the hasty crowds and ask where we as a society are going, for if we are to believe Tony Meander, we are almost beyond redemption. For a glimpse into the psychology of the generations that are and that are to come, this book is seminal. I really look forward to reading his other works, for this is simply splendid. Five stars for this dark (to put it mildly: not a book for kids or teenagers) gem that will stay with me for many a year.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have been researching and studying the Columbine shooting for a long time before coming across "The Columbine Pilgrim." With his obsessive and obsessed protagonist Tony Meander, author Andy Nowicki condenses the traits and experiences of troubled loners into a surreal narrative that rings authentic for anyone who is familiar with the school shooting sprees post-Columbine. Blending historical fiction with phantasmagorical imagery, sardonic humor with disturbing scenes of horror, this brief yet gripping read will take residence in the reader's mind long after its harrowing climax. While some moments feel too drawn-out or somewhat strained for the purposes of Tony's journey, many passages in the book, particularly the flashbacks and the afterword, create a genuine sense of twisted catharsis. The reader is likely to be found at an empathetic impasse - stranded between identifying with the troubles of a bullied youth and condoning the malicious revenge that such experiences have fermented. Regardless, "The Columbine Pilgrim" is a bold, unapologetic work that refuses to compromise its ambition - namely, to disturb and disrupt the conventional platitudes about school shootings in America.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This short novel is published by Counter Currents Publishing, a new publisher dealing with items of interest to the New Right. The novel tells the disturbing story of Tony Meander, a man descending into mental illness. Meander becomes obssessed with the Columbine school massacre, seeing the perpetrators as being the manifestation of Neitzsche's Overman. He becomes convinced that they, with their massacre, began a holy project that he is destined to continue.
The book is split into two halves, the first detailing the breakdown of Meander's mind and the second detailing the events of 20/5, the date of Meander's action. This split creates an interesting juxtaposition, as the first part is written in a highly subjective style, giving a view of the inner workings of Meander's mind, whilst the second part is written in a procedural style, rather like a news report. The event itself is thus described with the subjective anticipation of the perpetrator himself, and the quasi-objective hindsight of a chronicler. Both viewpoints are themselves split into further perspectives, as Meander's mind is filled with conflicting personifications, and the aftermath is filled with conflicting interest groups.
The book is genuinely disturbing as it seeks to avoid a judgemental, moralistic tone. Instead, we are forced to confront the horror of Meander's psychosis, and its consequences, directly, with unpleasant attention to detail. In this way, the reader is forced to sympathise with the vile bullying to which the juvenile Meander is subjected, but also to feel the terror of his wrath. There are no easy solutions presented; in fact, the way the book is structured suggests that there can be no "answer".
This book was published a few months before Anders Breivik went berserk in Oslo. As seems to happen with much dystopian fiction, if it is far fetched then it is only a matter of time before it becomes commonplace. The world will likely see more Tony Meanders before too long.
Despite this book being graphic and somewhat disturbing, I would thoroughly recommend it, as it is an honest attempt to understand the inexplicable. Most importantly, it is well written and convincing. Turning a blind eye to such horror will only provide temporary respite.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a very clever book on death and resurrection written in the temper of our times. Strangely, the setting of Columbine High School was appropriate for this novel of youthful struggle with sex, religion and social standing. The main character being of the same age as Jesus Christ suggests a modern day parable suitable for the Columbine generation. Certainly a different world than the one I was promised at my high school. Worth the read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book wouldn't normally be my cup of tea, yet, however skeptical about it I was before reading it (and even a bit into it), I was pleasantly surprised. Especially by the ending. The ending had me laughing out loud and smiling for some time afterwards. It's a trip down a dark, nihilistic, road (creations of the postmodern world) but for me, the irony made it well worth it. It's a good read, I would recommend it.
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on July 16, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The Columbine Pilgrim is one of those books that is viscerally disgusting and shocking, yet at the same time, you're thankful for reading it because it fills you with hope. Just a glimmer of hope, but it's there. I should warn you though: this book is not for the squeamish.

I described Andy Nowicki in my Considering Suicide review as a guy who has mastered the art of using modernity's own language and ethos to skewer it, and The Columbine Pilgrim is his finest work to date. The plot concerns Tony Meander, a lifelong loser who was mercilessly bullied and harassed in high school. The first part of the book concerns his "pilgrimage" to Columbine High School; having elevated Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to the status of demigods, we're left to watch Meander relive his teenage torment in wrenching detail.

This is why you should buy The Columbine Pilgrim: it's the most brutal and honest depiction of loserdom you'll find in modern literature. Nowicki's depiction of social ostracism is frank and in-your-face, enough so that it makes Meander's fall from grace all the more breathtaking.

That's the other reason why The Columbine Pilgrim succeeds: it's complicated. It would have been really easy to turn it into a sentimental morality tale about the evils of intolerance, but Nowicki resists that urge with gusto. Meander may have been unfairly persecuted, but his suffering doesn't make him into a better human being; on the contrary, it turns him into a snarling, egomaniacal monster. Indeed, Nowicki takes a few cracks at those obnoxiously didactic types at the end of the book.

The Columbine Pilgrim is not an easy book. It's not something that will make you laugh, nor is it the kind of book you take into the bathroom with you. It's a book that you'll be turning over in your mind for days after you finish it. Nowicki's characterization, tone and storytelling are perfect, and he respects his readers' intelligence. Read this book.
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