Author: CaptainFez

Curmudgeon.

Book review: The Death of Francis Bacon

The Death of Francis Bacon by Max Porter.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

A short review for a short book? Seems pretty apt.

The Death of Francis Bacon is Max Porter’s brief, yet weighty investigation of the mind of the famous curmudgeon (and painter, I guess) Francis Bacon.

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Observation (2019/2020)

The chances of me nabbing a PS5 any time soon are fairly nonexistent, so despite the fact I have a chunk of previous-gen games floating around in my to-finish pile, I’ve been working through some of the titles included in Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription. (It came with my console, and fuck it, why not? It meant I didn’t have to buy that Blair Witch game.)

Thankfully, my most recent dip into the pool-o-games features enough creepy narrative to keep me entertained for its relatively short runtime. Yeah, compared to a Yakuza game, everything is relatively short, but still: for about 10–12 hours, Observation kept me pretty intrigued.

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Book review: Falling Angel

Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

You know, there’s a lot to be said for pulps. Often, you’ll find wisdom or truth amongst the piles of bodies. Sometimes there’s moments of grace. Usually, there’s sex and violence. As far as brain-off reads go, pulps are a good way to defrag the mind after one too many volumes of Proust.

(If you’ve never tried it, you need to. Disregarding this type of lit is a loss, because everyone needs some dumb fun once in a while.)

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Book review: Printer’s Devil Court

Printer’s Devil Court by Susan Hill.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Doctors, eh?

They’re always up to no good. I mean, trying to save lives and learn about the body and bring people back to life. Where do they get off?

Well, at the last one, if Susan Hill’s story here is to be believed. Because it would seem that fucking with the line between life and death is not an endeavour that Ends Well. Especially if you’re a medical student with some overly inquisitive – and rather full of themselves – roomies.

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Book review: The Recognitions

The Recognitions by William Gaddis.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

It’s taken me a while to write this review because it’s taken a while to read its subject. The Recognitions is an undeniably skilful creation, a wellspring of erudition and multiple narratives, a thumbnail sketch of religion, of bums, of certain locales around the world at a certain juncture in time, as well as a meditation on falsity, on misdirection and true paths. But it’s also, for all its brilliance, often a sluggish read, and one that provides brilliantly polished vignettes at the cost – for me, at least – of overall coherence.

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Book review: The Wanderer

The Wanderer by Timothy J. Jarvis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

It took me a while to read The Wanderer and I’m not entirely sure why. It might’ve been this cursed year – hell, let’s blame that. But I certainly found that as much as I was entranced whenever I perused the book, I wasn’t quick to come back to it.

Curiously, this isn’t the bad thing that I had expected. It meant that each time I returned, I was surprised anew at how bizarre the thing is.

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Book review: Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom

Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom by Nik Cohn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

I came to this book as many did, I suspect, because it featured on that list of David Bowie’s 100 favourite books which circulated a couple of years ago. (The list also is explored in a podcast, if you’re interested.)

It makes sense that Bowie would be a fan of this work, given that it’s an enthusiastic, bitchy exploration of early rock. After all, the work is titled for Little Richard’s protean good-time yawp from ‘Tutti Fruitti’, the song that made Bowie “see God”.

And a lot of cocaine, I guess.

After a couple of years of looking, I found a copy replete with terrifying cover. It was written in 1968 and revised in 1972. Kit Lambert, erstwhile manager of The Who introduces the work and sets things rolling: the text covers a brief period in music, but one of supreme importance for everything rock-related that came afterwards. All that’s covered is the period from Bill Haley’s initial popularity until 1966 – that’s it.

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Book review: Imperium

Imperium: A Fiction of the South Seas by Christian Kracht
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

First things first: this book is great and you should read it. I found it deeply enjoyable and odd in a a manner reminiscent of Fitzcarraldo: a story of absolutely genius/idiotic zeal.

Second things second: if you don’t read this review, at least read the Wikipedia description of the book because if it doesn’t make you want to read it, I just don’t know what to say to you.

Imperium is a 2012 satiric novel by the Swiss writer Christian Kracht. It recounts the story of August Engelhardt, a German who in the early 20th century founded a religious order in German New Guinea based on nudism and a diet consisting solely of coconuts. The fictionalized narrative is an ironic pastiche.

See?

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