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Heathenish Paperback – April 25, 2017
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The storytelling combined with the narrative presentation of the book really makes it flow. The narrative is told in a series of vignettes surrounding this young man who is moving back in with his parents after a failed marriage and 3 kids at 20 years old. The narrator then proceeds to spiral down a wormhole of harsh substance abuse/dealing and black out partying. There is something to be said about depression and familial bonds in the story as well. In my opinion, some of the dialogs do seem to be a little stilted and forced, like it is trying too hard. I know that there are people that talk like the characters in this book, but part of me could not help but cringe at how some of the conversations are delivered. I think mostly you can chock this up to me being a curmudgeon. At first, I was a little disappointed about how the book ended but the more I thought about how it is such a short snapshot of this young man’s life and that it is hard to be defined by such a short window of time when you’re 20-21 years old. When you’re that young and fortuitous it may be easier to switch on and off your lifestyle as you please. Also, you still have so much life ahead of you, if you survive, that you can truly get your act together or you can fall into that deep pit where rock bottom is, it can go either way. Since the book initiated some self-discussion and self-reflection I grew a deeper appreciation for it.
Despite some small criticisms, Heathenish is a fun and emotionally intense read. It definitely has a Harmony Korine vibe to it and I am a huge fan of Korine. Also, this book is released by one of my favorite indie publishers Broken River Books. If you enjoy the work of the J David Osborne, the man behind BRB, then you will probably dig this book as well as I feel they are in the same ballpark. I will definitely check out a future Losack release.
This book is amazing, "...and I hope the fact that I'll be saying it until the world ends doesn't dilute the sincerity in this moment." :)
Really though, you should buy this book.
“I warn Kim before we get in the car that this isn’t going to be a fun ride, and that I’ve been drinking.” Those first few words give a sense of foreboding, which continues throughout the book, with only a few moments of calm sticking out. This works fantastically, as there was no putting it down. Well I read to about halfway and had to stop for the night because my clip-on reading light got broken by my daughter some time ago. The next day everyone was out of the house and I was supposed to be working on a resume or applications or something but instead I finished the rest of the book, and felt like I just got beaten half to death with a baseball bat.
Just realized that the main character in the book is never named, when meeting one of the minor characters it reads “I tell her my name and we shake hands and the piercings in her cheeks double her dimples when she smiles." I’ve seen this technique used in a few other books and it always seems to work for me, makes the voice easier to relate with or makes it seem as if this is a friend telling their story to me over a couple drinks or whatever. And in talking with Kelby through the internet he did say “it's not exactly a work of fiction” which I thought the whole time while reading. There is just too much personal detail and real life in this book to be a complete work of fiction, tho I could imagine flubbing a scene or two.
Where the lines of fiction and reality are in the book are impossible for me to say, but I think that is for the best, as the book involves vast quantities of drugs being taken, of all shapes and colors and smells, not that this is a pointless drugged out whack job of a novel, not at all. This is more a picture of the lives of so many people, on the other side of the law, living life that many might condemn or ridicule, but for those living it, it’s the best response to the world they live in. But there are plenty of consequences to that response as well, as I said at the beginning, there is a constant sense of foreboding in these pages. Remember too that for every person in the right place at the right time there are plenty more people in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I won’t sit here and tell you every scene in the book, or about the three kids the main character has and why he has to drive four hours to see them or babble on about stuff like that, I will sit here and tell you to get this book however you can and read the crap out of it. The author, Kelby, has got a real ear for words that will stick in your brain and keep playing over in your mind, well worth your time.
also that's a nice picture of a sunset i took, not related to the book at all, i just dig sunsets
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