M Against M
(Montag Press, 2013)
Fiction. Self-proclaimed outsider, Arthur Sonntag, has proudly placed himself on the fringes of a contemptible society. But now, after desperately trying to follow in his literary heroes’ footsteps and write something immortal, he finds himself struggling to write. Piece by piece, crippled by his mediocrity and consumed by his lust for success, Arthur’s mind starts to unravel… A wave of political unrest sweeps through the city. Protests. Kidnappings. Suicides. Every event documented by the all-seeing eye of the newswire, Metropolis. Now the newswire is recruiting… On the edge of despair, Arthur desperately wants in. Anywhere. Meanwhile, in his high window, a shadowy insider dreams of just the opposite. To save what remains of his sanity, the insider wants out. Once a paragon of the Metropolis elite, now he hides himself away, to escape the waking death of his working life. Alone, he starts to write. But through his window he notices bizarre scenes in the building across. Steadily, he drifts into obsession. Steadily, he drifts into madness.
By turns a paranoid mystery, existential thriller, and postmodern satire, M AGAINST M is a timely and harrowing look at modern media, and the professionals who run them.
Bad Eggs: The Adventures of the Duke. And Errol.
(Not So Noble Books, 2013)
“Declan Tan has one of the great names in writing. The key to most writing is having a great name. Declan Tan’s Bad Eggs is the type of book that lives up to the name. He lived in Nuremberg for a time and now he lives in London. This is a great book. One day they’ll probably change the name of Nuremberg or London to Declan Tan. It will do them well. Everyone in the city of Declan Tan will read this book, memorise it and speak it to their children like a lullaby, whisper it to their lovers as they move inside of one another. This book is alive. Don’t you want to feel alive?” Scott McClanahan, (Crapalachia, Hill William)
“This is a great book.” Scott McClanahan
“More metaphors than you can shake a stick at.” Ann Abrams
“Everything it cracked up to be, and more…” Boris Vyshinsky
Have you ever thought you were dead but your arm was just asleep? No? Well, The Duke has, if it’s any consolation. The difference is, he wants to die. Or be dead. He’s not sure.
An absurdist remake of the relentlessly bleak Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme, Bad Eggs: The Adventures of The Duke. And Errol, tells the story of an asocial civil servant fleeing to South America to spend what he hopes are the last days of his pathetic, jaundiced life.
But The Duke is reluctantly accompanied by several bad eggs he actively dislikes, including his wife, who all want a different part of him. Along the way, they encounter complications, such as a militant revolutionary cell, a nihilistic Hollywood couple, and an embryo-obsessed chef. They all want out of their feeble shells, but they can’t decide how best to escape – that is, without breaking into many tiny, useless pieces.
Philistine Press review: