Damn, Kevin, you make him sound like the GG Allin of noir. Of course, some people really liked GG Allin.
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> From: email@example.com
> 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
> 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."
> Maybe, in smaller doses, if the excesses weren't run into the ground,
> this might have worked. Obviously some people think this is hilarious
> 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
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