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Scorch Atlas Paperback – September 8, 2009
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Blake Butler engages in a struggle worth witnessing. Amid the loosely woven threads that constitute his story, shards of crystal poetry strand the reader in wonderment. There’s something so big about Blake’s writing. Big as men’s heads. Each inhale of Blake’s wheeze brings streamers of loose hair, the faces of lakes and oceans, whales washed up half-rotten. You can try putting on a facemask made out of old newspaper. You can breathe in smaller rhythms. But you won’t be able to keep this man out once you’ve opened his book. Open it! —Ken Sparling
I am always looking for new writers like Blake Butler and rarely finding them, but Scorch Atlas is one of those truly original books that will make you remember where you were when you first read it. Scorch Atlas is relentless in its apocalyptic accumulation, the baroque language stunning in its brutality, and the result is a massive obliteration. —Michael Kimball, author of Dear Everybody
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Top Customer Reviews
This is pure bizarro apocalyptic fiction at it's best. There are no central characters in these stories, just Mom and Dad, my sister and my brother, the neighbors...
In the world of "Scorch Atlas", you may find that -
Felons are forced to wear plastic jumpsuits with bubble heads to prevent their breath from spreading their corrupt ideas
Dry flakes of charcoal as big as men's heads slather from some great overhead fire
Fathers may shoot free throws to prove their manhood
Butler's writing is good and isn't so far out there that only the enlightened ones can understand it. These aren't stories about the future, their tales about an alternate world where the following things rain down from the sky -
Teeth (animal and human)
Flesh (gristle, cartilage, tissue, tendon, vein and bone)
If you've read "Scorch Atlas" and enjoy the bizzaro fiction genre, check out some other great books -
Morning Is Dead, Angel Dust Apocalypse and Sideshow PI: The Devil's Garden!
I didn't give it 5 stars because I thought the better stories were in the beginning of the novel, and it slowed down near the end. Regardless though, I will buy more from Blake Butler, after I've read some more cheerful stories.
Every work I've read by Butler is unique in and of itself and never disappointing. This one is particularly exceptional. Watch out folks there's a new boss in town.
Scorch Atlas is stark, decadent, and beautiful. I inhaled the dank things in this tiny unnamed world, and they do not easily wash off. Blake Butler is reluctant to name his dysfunctional characters. Perhaps, he knows we already have an idea who they are. He writes: "...so many buildings everywhere gone tilted, smothered..." -- and I believe him.
One may find the words "bleak" and "dark" to describe SCORCH ATLAS, and though that's easy, you can certainly find truth in that. But there's so much more to this book that unfolds with repeated readings. Most of the narrators are a part of a certain family--a mother, a daughter, a son. And though these families are different, along with their situations, there's an underlying familial bond in each that adds an element of radiance amidst the darkness. The characters seem destitute in the more narrative stories with initial reads, yet there's a deeply underlying tenderness that comes through with more readings: things that seem to subconsciously fuse together as the novel takes on new meaning as a whole, with the culmination of every story until the end.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was terrible and very difficult to finish because it was gross and depressing. I did not even want to give it one star.Published on January 21, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Easily the most disgusting book I have ever read. Not in an offensive manner but in the consistent and graphic descriptions. Read morePublished on January 15, 2014 by Patrick A Henry
Fantastic novel of interconnected short stories about people trying to survive the apocalypse. Crisp prose and haunting emotion makes this book stand out among most other... Read morePublished on October 5, 2010 by Grant Wamack
This book was chosen for a book club meeting and it's not my particular taste. What I find interesting is in spite of it's utter bleakness, there were rather sadistic parts that I... Read morePublished on May 28, 2010 by N. Chanting
Butler sculpts bombspaces, atomic sentences of premium sublimity. An alive object beyond relic that exists to replace heads with better saliva. The strongest lit on the market now. Read morePublished on October 5, 2009 by Sean T. Kilpatrick