Finding this book, it was almost more fun than the first few pages. Walked into the Collected Works bookstore near the square in Santa Fe. Rolled around the store, and waited for something to catch my eye. When nothing did, I asked the nice person behind the counter — really trying desperately to be politically correct — asked her where they kept the books by local authors.
“Oh, they are scattered throughout.”
I asked to be shown where various books might be, just, point them out. There was the knowing nod from one book lover to another, and her question, “Novels, guides, non-fiction?”
Novels. So I followed her back to the shelves with novels, and she started to point out various authors. One caught my attention, and the backstory sold it, “If you’re here for the farmer’s market, he comes into town to sell their garlic. He runs a garlic farm in a little town west of here….” Her running commentary trailed off.
I thumbed through several of the books, and settled on a reprint of madcap 1966 novel that seems to be remarkably prescient in some of its science fiction formatted materials. Signed copy, small press reprint, bought in a local bookstore, and it’s a novel by a local author.
Madcap noire, best guess? Part noire, part boilerplate mystery with a rogue vigilante, part not good with fractions.
It gradually changes beat, the rhythm varying, but the novel stands alongside great epics like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and serves as a clear antecedent to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, with satire and a certain timeless insanity incorporated.
Made me think about a previous novel I read recently, Ask the Dust.
I thought it was a brilliant novel. Satire, and like the blurb suggested, oddly prescient about our current lives.