You never hear about a sportsman losing his sense of smell in a tragic accident, and for good reason; in order for the universe to teach excruciating lessons that we are unable to apply in later life, the sportsman must lose his legs, the philosopher his mind, the painter his eyes, the musician his ears, the chef his tongue. My lesson? I have lost my freedom, and found myself in this strange prison, where the trickiest adjustment, other than getting used to not having anything in my pockets and being treated like a dog that pissed in a sacred temple, is the boredom. [Read more on the official website.]What follows is a book that has fantastic philosophical interludes like this opening one peppered into an absolutely riveting tale of one young man (Jasper Dean), his father (Martin Dean), and his uncle (Terry Dean). The book, in essence, is told through the son, though much of it is his father's story of growing up with Austrailia's most beloved murderer. The book chronicles Martin's self-destruction most closely, as he struggles against his own haunting nihilistic philosophies to prove something, anything, in the face of his brother and all of the effects and affects of his young life.
I REALLY don't want to give any spoilers here. I was disappointed that I even read the back of the book and found out the novel's settings. The journey from one story and character to the next is one of the most enjoyable, richest I have ever experienced within the written word. The reviews and the blurbs for the book focus on the novel's humor. And while I think the book is funny and made me smile about, the most remarkable thing about this book is just how smart it is. How much it grips you and forces you to blaze through its 500+ pages. There was no point of this book I ever wanted to put it down. The philosophical diversions always fit smoothly and were never clunky, as you might expect them to be when they come up as often as they do.
I'm certain that some day soon, the entertainment trades will have a small blurb that announces that some film production company has taken the rights to the film. This is a scary prospect for anybody that has had the pleasure of reading this masterpiece. If there was anyway to ensure that the Coen Brothers, though I'm not the biggest fan, could pick this book up, I think they could quite possibly be the only filmmakers smart enough to cull through the book to find its cinematic heart. Such a sprawling book can not easily be made into a film, and perhaps its author would never let that happen. But the amount of creative thinking and excitement it spurs in its readers makes me anticipate this pipe dream. As I wait with baited breath for this small headline, please read A Fraction of the Whole.