Postal Child / Queer and Alone (Books acquired, 05.05.2016)

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I love the covers of these two new titles from new indie Whisk(e)y Tit.

Here’s the not-blurb for Joey Truman’s Postal Child:

Whitey Whitlock had an ear for the birds. He could whistle their songs as well as they could. He did so on his route. He talked to the birds.The birds talked back.

Whitey was a black man. He was called Whitey because the index finger on his left hand was white. A birthmark. His first name was Esmerelda. Middle name Torno. His last name was Whitlock because his mom’s last name was Whitlock.

His mom was high when Whitey was born. She was also high when she named him. Esmerelda was the name of her sister, the only person in the world who ever treated her decently, and Torno was short for tornado, because that’s how it felt when Whitey came out.

Whitey’s mom had a penchant for the cocaine.

She was a good mom though. Albeit an inconsistent mom.Whitey learned how to deal with her mood swings and her ever-present hangovers. By the time he was three he could make his own breakfasts. By the time he was eight he could get himself to school. By the time he was ten he was doing all the shopping and housework. By the time he was twelve he could do all the paperwork that allowed him and his mom not to starve or be homeless. On one of the pubescent days leading up to his thirteenth birthday he woke up to find his mom dead on the couch.

And the blurb-blurb for James Strah’s Queer and Alone (which about, by the way, Whisk(e)y Tit publisher Miette threatens/offers to “tattoo the entire text to your torso while smoking clove cigarettes” (not sure who’s doing the smoking there)):

Monrovia. Bali. Bombay. Cayman Islands. Hollywood. The names of faraway places dot the pages of Queer and Alone like thousands of islands in a deep blue sea. Indeed, the hero – or is he an ironic anti-hero? – of this novel is a man literally at sea. He is Desmond Farrquahr who boards a steamer bound for Hong Kong by way of the Cape of Good Hope. Looking for experience, taking in the sights, hoping. For what?

Queer and Alone is a wildly exuberant travelogue as monologue, an eccentric American’s view of tourism. One might call it a “scatalogical romance,” with a story and a girl in every port. “It’s all part of the novel experience of being there,” Farrquahr wordplays with the reader. As narrator of the novel he shows off incredibly sly linguistic gifts that turn even the slightest image or sound into the dazzling rhythms of word magic.

Whether it’s describing racial fantasy films in Africa, investigating murder in Bombay, or seducing stately women in staterooms, Farrquahr manages to have the most ingenious takes on culture. In one of the most funny scenes in the novel the narrator is seen eating several (dis)courses of a chopstick dinner that makes the ideologies of both East and West seem like entangled sesame noodles. Tourism moves closer to zany anthopology whenever Farrquahr acts as guide.

Desmond Farrquahr is a very queer fellow if judged by any conventional standards. But isn’t the world itself a queer place these days?

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4 thoughts on “Postal Child / Queer and Alone (Books acquired, 05.05.2016)”

  1. I’d love to see you write a post on, like, the ten books you most aggressively recommend to friends, am still most excited about even when reading other stuff, etc.

    Not necessarily the ten classics that *should* be read, but the top ten books you’d most likely say: “Oh my god, you haven’t read X???!!! I *envy* the fact that you’re about to experience this for the first time.”

    Autobiography of Red is an example of something I thrust on people all the time, and I feel like, if they don’t “get” it, then they don’t get *me* in some sense.

    Like

    1. It’s a neat idea for a post. I could’ve written it at 20 no problem, maybe even at 25…but now, I’m not sure. I tend to target books to specific folks. An easy example is my wife, who I know would have next to zero interest in Gaddis’s JR, but would dig Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend. Or another example: I bought a friend a book of Tom Clark’s poems because I knew he’d dig them.
      But anyway, books I’ve given away/bought extra copies just so friends would read them include

      Infinite Jest, Wallace
      The Rings of Saturn, Sebald
      The Rifles, Wm Vollmann
      Europe Central, Wm Vollmann
      Blood Meridian, McCarthy
      Mumbo Jumbo, Reed
      All kinds of Bolano books
      Alvaro Mutis’s Gaviero novellas

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