Monday, November 25, 2013

WARNING: Gratuitous clown sex and violence!!

Other People's Shit

By C.V. Hunt

Rating: 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars

I hate clowns.

I'm not afraid of clowns. I don't have coulrophobia. I just hate the MFers. It probably has to do with the jokers I was subjected to during childhood. Clarabelle acted psychotic to the point that I feared for Howdy Doody's life, Emmet Kelly looks like the adults my parents told me to avoid, Ronald McDonald is a corporate stooge, and Bozo was a...well...Bozo. I used to work with a guy that liked being a clown. He was one of those guys that weighed close to 250 pounds and drove a tiny car in parades. He worked extensively with children charities and was adored by kids. He was, and I say this in all sincerity, a kind, generous, morally upright person. But I never told him that when he was in his clown outfit, he was the spitting image of John Wayne Gacey. Now that's scary!

In Other People's Shit, C.V. Hunt creates a world where clowns are a disease. You wake up one morning and you're a clown. Think Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" with cream pies.You lose you wife, your family, your career, and end up being in the pits of society being harassed and working shit jobs. The author takes her title both figuratively and literally. Very literally.

Hunt sets up her Bizarro world very nicely for the first half of her book. It's very funny but also quite horrific. You can't help but feel some empathy for these unlucky men and women. The new reader to Bizarro lit may find this a little too bizarre. There should be a warning sticker. WARNING: GRATUITOUS CLOWN SEX AND VIOLENCE. But there's a nice balance between funny, gross and sad. Yet the second half, where our protagonists investigate strange overdressed bike messengers who are abducting the clowns, went a little over the funny scale into silly. I lost the social allegory that I suspected the author was making. But for the most part the good outweighed the weak and I enjoyed it in its gross splendor.

This is definitely an experimental read for most people. If you squirm at the scatological and blush at the sexually explicit, you should probably avoid this. For that matter, avoid the Bizarro genre all together since the sole purpose of the genre is to push the envelope. But if you are brave and feel that good writing shouldn't have arbitrary limits, you will enjoy this short and weird novel.

Method acquired: Review copy from Amazon.

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