From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 10 Jun 2009

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    Damn, Kevin, you make him sound like the GG Allin of noir. Of course, some people really liked GG Allin.

    > To:
    > From:
    > Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 08:51:54 -0700
    > Subject: RARA-AVIS: THE DISASSEMBLED MAN Disassembled
    > Gonzalo wrote:
    > > I must say I think the novel (THE DISASSEMBLED MAN by Nate Flexer)
    > > is a far cry from Jim Thompson. The violence and the
    > > characterizations are caricaturesque and the author can't seem to
    > > strike a balance between the outlandish humor and telling a story
    > > from the point of view of a sociopath (one recent novel that
    > > accomplishes this pretty effectively is Iain Levison's Since the
    > > Layoffs). In spite of the rough spots, I think it's an entertaining
    > > first novel . I'll be on the lookout for more Flexer and New Pulp
    > > Press titles.
    > You're more patient with THE DISASSEMBLED MAN than I was, then. I had
    > high hopes, but it turned out more cartoon than caricature, and what
    > humour there was in it was more of the gross-out/train wreck variety
    > -- a likely candidate for GUN IN CHEEK III, if Pronzini ever gets
    > around to it.
    > Granted, we all like different things. What disappointed me about this
    > book -- what I felt was juvenile and self-conscious -- others may
    > praise as fresh and exciting and the funniest thing they've read in
    > years.
    > And maybe I'm being too harsh on a first-time novelist, and should
    > save it for the "big boys," as Dave calls them. But the author doesn't
    > strike me as the sensitive type. In fact, he goes out of his way to
    > prove he's about as sensitive as a hockey puck.
    > In trying to establish his tough guy bona-fides, he crams every
    > sentence, every paragraph, every clunky, self-conscious bit of
    > dialogue with over-boiled similes ("red as a used tampon"),
    > blatantly obvious metaphors, dime store psychobabble and prose so
    > tortured only Dick Cheyney could love it.
    > So what might have been a tight and effective, albeit obvious, tour
    > through hell ends up just another neo nah entrant in the schoolyard
    > spitting contest.
    > Nor is the plot strong enough to pull the reader over the rough spots.
    > Despite all the huffing and puffing, the story goes pretty much from
    > A to B, with nary a detour along the way: slaughterhouse worker goes
    > psycho about sums it up.
    > Dave felt Parker's CALIFORNIA GIRL was obvious; this one was so
    > obvious the twist ending (and the "surprise" rationale for his crimes)
    > is pretty much blown by its own title. If you've read enough Jim
    > Thompson (or enough Jim Thompson wannabees) you already know what will
    > be coming.
    > Not that anyone would be reading it for the plot, anyway. It's the
    > writing, the publisher and the blurbers assure us, that's supposed to
    > be the real treat here.
    > One reviewer even called Flexer an explosive writer. I'm not sure
    > about him, but his main character sure is explosive. At the least
    > display of stress or suspense, he vomits. Or pisses his pants. Or
    > craps in them.
    > A typical sentence construct is "I was so (angry/upset/nervous) I
    > (pissed my pants/threw up/shit myself). Repeat ad nauseum. Although he
    > does on rare occasions exert some control over his bodily functions,
    > as in the memorable scene where his car is so hot he pisses on the
    > steering wheel so he can touch it.
    > Yeah, people do that all the time.
    > But mostly he seems unable to control any part of his digestive
    > system, as when, trying to gain access to a rendering plant, he writes:
    > "I pulled (the) keys out of my pocket. The first two didn't work. I
    > panicked. The third key did the trick. I farted with relief."
    > Huh?
    > Maybe, in smaller doses, if the excesses weren't run into the ground,
    > this might have worked. Obviously some people think this is hilarious
    > stuff.
    > But I felt the editor (if it was edited) showed as little restraint as
    > the author. Yeah, this book is memorable, all right. Sorta like
    > watching a grown man (the author is supposedly 33 years old) play with
    > his own turds.
    > Though that might be taken as a compliment for a book like this. Maybe
    > they'll blurb me for his next book.
    > Kevin Burton Smith
    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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