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Major Inversions Paperback – August 7, 2009
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Something else to ponder: have you ever found yourself in a bar, you know the type, where there's a stage, and you're confused as to why this place even has a stage, but there is one nonetheless, and at some point in the evening, a group of guys step onto said stage looking like they took a time machine from somewhere in the nineteen-eighties to the present time and place and they start kicking out the jams from their aesthetically represented era? And everyone loves it? Yes. This is how it is. Everyone loves those songs. Those times, even. And these guys are most likely playing these songs better than their originators ever could. Have you, then, ever found yourself in such a place or situation? You probably have. More than that, though, is this: have you ever wondered who, exactly, these guys are, or what they look and act like off of the stage, out of the makeup and spandex and whigs? Well, once again, ladies and gentlemen, Gordon highland delivers. He takes us into that world. He shows who, exactly, these guys are. Specifically one Drew Ballard. And I feel that Mr. Highland is a bit too familiar with this world. So much so I find myself wondering if he maybe does have a closet full of leoprad print, stretch materials, lipstick, blush, and a questionable number whigs, carefully stored on model heads.
According to the jacket copy, Drew Ballard has the perfect girl. I'll go with that. I think I can rightly say I would not mind such a girlfriend. Thing is though, anyone who has it that good is bound to screw it up, right? Well, he does. And it's painful. Painful in that oh man, I know precisely how he feels/what he's going through kind of way. And it's not just his girl, either. It's his whole world.
So it hurts. But it's never not engaging. Major Inversions is at almost all times hilarious, and also full of heart and sincerity.
You know, I can't help but feel that Drew Ballard really is out there, somewhere, in some bar, on some stage, playing an all-too-familiar tune. Could be my city, could be yours. Chances are, you wouldn't even know it's him, but I bet you're singing along.
Cynically sarcastic, though driven once the "pale and thin - bookish" (27) Layla enters the fold, Ballard jokes his way from jingles to a legitimate film score job, and ultimately into Layla pants, eventually shedding his rock-whore stage persona in favor of exclusivity. But despite the promise, Ballard's upward trend does not last.
Major Inversions incorporates metafictional elements to immerse the reader, beyond even the ability of Ballard's wit. References to the book itself permeate the text ("I'm getting better at this putting-one-word-in-front-of-another thing...Little periods every now and then to break it up for your short-assed attention span" ) and casual asides jolt the reader into introspection (when discussing his own adoption with a therapist the idea of journaling his experiences opens for the seemingly innocent, "Now there's a novel idea" ). But the most obvious and unique meta-element is the inclusion of song lyrics, complete with chord progressions, which act as distilled moments of clarity, delivered perhaps in the way Ballard naturally thinks (check out the "Look Inside" feature to see examples of these)
With the early introduction of Barron Vaughn, Major Inversions begins its true arc. The cable installer turned roommate, true to his "reptilian" (43) features, integrates his way into Ballard's residence then life then personal arc in surprising ways. He is the story's lurking demon, an arresting presence in all his scenes.
Major Inversions, from its...filthy...opening scene, to its final tragicomic pages simply works. You will likely not read a funnier book for quite some time.
Most recent customer reviews
I really enjoyed this book, there were loads of twists and turns that I didn't see coming!Read more