June 19, 2014

Book Review: "Everything Must Go," by La JohnJoseph

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Everything Must Go, by La JohnJoseph

Everything Must Go
By La JohnJoseph
ITNA Press
Reviewed by Jason Pettus

This is the second title I've now received by the intriguing ITNA Press, a small publisher dedicated to providing a home for especially dark, especially obtuse manuscripts; and "especially dark and obtuse" is a perfect description for playwright La JohnJoseph's newest book, a story on the serious side of the genre known generally as "bizarro" (a genre with just as large a humorous side, to be clear), set in an undated future where an apocalypse has disrupted all normal laws of physics and space/time on Earth, and where our main character can do things like age three years in a matter of days simply by choice, or have long convoluted psychic conversations with her still-gestating but fully mature baby who is still inside her womb. And that in a nutshell is always the problem with books like these, and why I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with bizarro novels in general; for while there is much to admire here simply in terms of style, audacity, and the pure beauty of the language itself being used, since this is little more plot-wise than a written-out cartoon that deliberately makes no narrative sense at all, I find it extremely difficult to get emotionally invested in books like these or even to finish them, instead tending to look at such titles as a great 50-page short story couched within a 200-page manuscript, and with it not really mattering where exactly you start and stop reading within that 200-page manuscript itself, a disappointing experience when you're a big fan of three-act novels like I am. Absolutely recommended (and strongly so) for existing fans of bizarro, that recommendation gets a lot trickier when it comes to the general public, and whether or not you should pick this up depends a lot on whether you read novels more for the story (in which case no) or for the writing (in which case definitely yes).

Out of 10: 8.0, or 9.0 for existing bizarro fans

Read even more about Everything Must Go: Official site | Amazon | GoodReads | LibraryThing

Filed by Jason Pettus at 7:00 AM, June 19, 2014. Filed under: Literature | Literature:Fiction | Reviews |