2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2011
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.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2011
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2011
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.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
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.
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.