Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Book Review: “Clown Tear Junkies” stories by Douglas Hackle, edited by Arthur Graham, 2013, Rooster Republic Press, Kindle Edition.

This is a collection of a handful of previously published pieces mixed with mostly never before published bizarro tales penned by one of the genres’ leading light’s Douglas Hackle.

In total these are twenty seven short scenes of everyday life with an absurdist bent that isn’t over the top like so many of the pretenders to the cause. While so many bizarro practitioners seem to throw the kitchen at you from the first sentence in order to establish their bona fides, Hackle’s approach is more deliberate and more artistic.

That is what I like about his work and what I like about this collection. There is a simplicity to the approach; the plot is straightforward with a basic set up that only hits you with the kitchen sink at the appropriate time much like a well-crafted joke; which is the essence of this genre.

You see so many in the bizarro community empty the cupboard from the first few sentences draining the effectiveness of the tale. But not here; not by far.

The other aspect that impresses is Hackle’s use of language and sound. His writing is interactive elevating it beyond linear storytelling. His use of language is innovative and daring; consider a paragraph comprised of the letter ‘b’ with a dash. Believe me it fits the story.

And this is the aspect of the work that raises the level from mere typing to creative and to art. Hackle’s use of language is ‘Bunuelesque’ and audacious. It is Andy Kaufman lip syncing.
This is a quick and quite entertaining read that is deeper than one might first suspect. Deeper because it is true satire; Hackle gets the joke and lets you in on it without being pedantic or elitist.

“Clown Tear Junkies” is a comfortable intellectual exercise that amuses and challenges rather than confronts. This is book you should buy. 

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