A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-Oxford Comma, Catholic (with Asperger's) who reads and writes as her obsession. I've been reading over 400 books a year lately. These are my ramblings on some of the books I read. To read about all the books I read and comment on, visit me at LibraryThing or Goodreads.

I've been blogging since 2007 and at this point (July 2015) am trying my hand at turning the theme of this blog towards mystery, thriller, and crime, fiction and nonfiction. I have some special interest topics and categories within this broad genre which include (but are not limited to) serial killers, scandi-crime, Victorian history and historicals, history of the criminally insane and asylums, psychopathology, death, funerary practices and burial, corpses, true crime and anything dealing with the real life macabre, or that portrayed in fiction.

I also read a short story a day from various collections, sometimes anthologies othertimes collections of a single author's work. These reviews are also posted here and while they are of mixed genre the mystery, thriller, horror, gothic and macabre often appear within their pages as well.

I also blog about
graphic novels and manga on a separate BLOG.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

07. Luna Park by Kevin Baker

Luna Park by Kevin Baker. Art by Danijel Zezelj (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 157
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jan 8, 2011
First Published: Nov. 30, 2010
Publisher: Vertigo
Genre: magical realism, crime, historical fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Every day, he tries to escape the nightmare.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: The Russian historical aspects and the publisher's summary had me intrigued.

This is a very difficult book to give a summary as nothing is as it seems but let me tell you what appears to be happening as the book starts. Alik Strelnikov is a Russian immigrant who made a deal back in Russia which got him his freedom in America. This 'freedom' lead him to working for a second fiddle Russian mob group in Coney Island as an enforcer. Here he lives an existence with his girlfriend in an apartment drinking, listening to old Russian records and shooting heroin to forget what he has become. But he is plagued with dreams, nightmares actually, the same ones over and over, which show him in various situations in different uniforms and he is always afraid. These nightmares will take us back in history to pre-revolutionary Russia, to WWI, to the Chechen Wars and back to 1910s New York.

This is an awesome, gripping story. The reader has no idea of what is really going on for some time. My mind contemplated these dreams as possible flashbacks to past lives, psychic visions of the past, a tortured man turning his real problems into symbolic messages and finally a simpler consideration, the raving dreams of a madman. Why he keeps having the dreams is not so important but the recurring themes that they carry are. With the ultimate one of betrayal being the most affecting on him. Then the book takes an extreme magical or psychedelic turn and one can possibly start to put things together until near the very end when the author hits us with a very subtle reveal we hardly notice it until the final page with it's shocking end. I actually stared at the last page for some seconds before the reveal sank in. A fabulous end!

The writing and the art combine to make a surreal, strange, semi-conscious type of plot. This is not going to be a book for everyone. Not for the type who like their plots to begin at A and end at Z. The plot is incongruous and where it is going the reader cannot grasp until a certain point 2/3s of the way through. This is not a bad thing though. I found the book utterly captivating to read. It's one of those few books that stand out alone as an "I've never read anything quite like it before!" book. The art is fascinatingly done mostly in a palette of terracottas, greys and purplish blues that turn into lavenders at more lighthearted scenes (not that there are many of those). If you've ever seen old Communist posters or postage stamps from the era, the art reminds me of that style at times. Otherwise it matches the mood of the story perfectly.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting book...

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