Gary Amdahl’s Across My Big Brass Bed (Book acquired, early May 2023)

Gary Amdahl’s 2014 novel Across My Big Brass Bed is getting a new printing from corona\samizdat. A review copy arrived at Biblioklept World Headquarters a day or two before a short vacation, and I almost tucked it into my backpack for the plane, but I knew that the novel’s paragraphless flow would not work for me if I were around other humans, let alone in a big metal plastic carbon fiber thing forty thousand feet in the etc.

So I set it aside, and then picked it up this afternoon.

The novel (subtitled “An Intellectual Autobiography in Twenty-four Hours”) begins: “I drove, aimlessly but alertly, fighting traffic.” It’s the early 1960s in the Twin Cities, and our narrator seems to be coming into consciousness, by which I might mean earliest memories, or really just new language-and-concept acquisition: “President John Fitzgerald Kennedy had just been—new word—assassinated.” A few sentences later, our narrator cracked me up with this mordant zinger:

“Whatever it meant to be human, President Kennedy could no longer manage it.”

Yikes! The first chapter ends with our hero successfully assisting a group of pedestrians in their crossing of the street in his new professional capacity of an elected Crossing Guard of Madison Elementary. I loved the pages I read today.