Tuesday, 18 January 2011
One Bloody Thing After Another by Joey Comeau
Jackie has a bit of a problem with anger management. Charlie can't guess what the headless woman is desperately trying to tell him and, anyway, he's more worried about his dog getting old. Jackie wants to tell Ann she loves her, but Ann is preoccupied because she's having trouble with her mom. It's a gruesome little tale, the story of people struggling to hold it together when really bad things happen. The writing both externalises their struggles yet makes them sympathetic - perhaps the brevity helps here, because I think it would be hard not to read it all in one gulp. It's a helter-skelter of a horror story, everything tumbling inexorably towards a conclusion which is more a muddled heap than a resolution, yet somehow breathlessly satisfying, even though you're not sure how you got there, or if it's really over.
Overall, I think it's a success - not quite my usual kind of thing, but funny, experimental and grisly. If the opportunity arises, I'll approach other works by this young writer with interest. It was read for the Canadian Book Challenge, via NetGalley (who have, I note, removed their Kindle option for the present.)
*Edited later to say that a review on LibraryThing makes it clear that all copies are haunted by apparently random words (as I'd hoped, because it's something that stays with me now that I've finished the book). I think the intention may be easier to follow in a printed version.