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Stay God Hardcover – December 14, 2010
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`Stay Go D' is almost literary in its poetic prose and nihilistic narrative. Korpon, romanticises while inking the backdrop against Baltimore's seedy streets and chilling settings. Taking a minimalist approach in creating his vision of Bmore serves the bar-room-dwellers and pawn shop entrepreneurs well. The foreground compliments the changing character landscape allowing those central to the plot to take centre stage.
The protagonist of sorts, Damon, doesn't dabble in recreational drug abuse, preferring to feed his habit in monolithic proportion.The fiend-like behaviour is reflected in the novels' portrayal of his drug addled paranoia and almost liquid state of mind. Locations and personal interaction alike slide by one another as Korpon delivers Damon and his environs through wave-like lenses. You get the feeling solid ground is but a myth on account of Damon's daze of delusion and misfortune, as he butchers his body and soul for a future vision shared only by him.
Despite the obvious generalisation as this being a novel in line with the neo noir sub genre, at its core, 'Stay Go D' is really a confused love story hampered by the allure of cash and drugs. Damon's infatuation with his coworker, Mary, and obvious puppy love is paramount to the story's overall theme (notably the drug connection). In putting Mary on a pedestal, she assumes almost a mythical aura in light of Damon's misfiring synapse - I liked this, given Damon's rather skewed perspective - it worked rather well.
A portion of the ending felt like it was written for another book - the speed was consistent with the slow burn leading to the conclusion. That said, it sure was a hell of an ending and one I certainly didn't see coming (well, to that extent anyway). 3.5 stars.
Damon's world is pretty dark and dirtier than he would like to admit. He and his girlfriend, Mary, seem to have a perfect relationship. Their days may even come across as a little mundane. They own a second hand shop called Stay Gold. People come and go trading their merchandise for CDs packed with drugs. Both Mary and Damon are very precise and neat when it comes to running their business. But when Damon decides that it would benefit them to team up with a different dealer and start selling a new drug, Mary is scared that she may disappear because of a deal she made with her own devil.
Damon has addictions, secrets, and when he decides to take matters into his own hands, Damon finds himself in a whole world of trouble. Trouble that seems to put himself and all those he loves in harm's way.
From the horror movie debates between Damon and his friend Christian, to the description of Damon's paranoia, Nik Korpon keeps you entertained. His writing is smooth and precise. I feel as if his words are applied with a fine paintbrush instead of a keyboard. I insist you give at least one, if not all, of Nik Korpon's books a look. You will not be disappointed.
I've known of this book for years, been reading it in our Write Club workshop, and was thrilled when it landed with me at Otherworld Publications. Nik is one of my neo-noir brothers, a guy that doesn't mind laying on the mood, the setting, injecting the emotions, slapping you in the face with the harsh Baltimore weather, every grimy cobblestone on top of every chipped brick until you are immersed, a part of it all, trying to keep up, trying to find a way out, holding your breath as you turn the page.
Stay God is a neo-noir thriller, one that isn't afraid to go dark. But it's not one note. He puts your through the wringer, making you laugh, become friends with this cast of miscreants, understand their love, and then shatter it all in the blink of an eye.
Chuck Palahniuk said something like "Teach me something, make laugh, and then break my heart." Nik Korpon does this and more. It is a book I really enjoyed reading, from start to finish.