Sunday, December 6, 2015

Funny, Shocking, and Amazing

I'll Fuck Anything That Moves and Stephen Hawking

By Violet LeVoit


Publisher: Fungasm Press

Pub. Date:  October 19, 2014

Rating: 4 & 1/2 out of 5 stars

First of all, Let's get right to that title. It is rude, crude and offensive and I loved it. Tell the truth. You laughed didn't you? You may have hated yourself for laughing but you did laugh.

I'll Fuck Anything That Moves and Stephen Hawking is fortunately more than just a clever title. The title communicates the range of weirdness and basic nonconformity in the 14 pieces of short fiction (15 if you count "Discussion Questions for Book Clubs" as fiction which I do) that make up this unusual collection. One thing for sure, I don't have to warn you this is not a book for everyone. You probably got that hint from the second word in the title.

Violet LeVoit is one amazing writer. She can carry a lot of baggage in a few short pages. Her stories are not easy reads. She can go into a word orgy that is as disorienting as finding a pickle in a dildo display yet just as tasty. I found myself having to read some of the stories a second time even a third time, fortunately they tend to be brief, and sometimes still not getting the gist. Yet they all pack an emotional punch perhaps speaking to our id or just our need to revel in a primordial soup of words poured over uncomfortable topics.

I have not read LeVoit's first collection, I am Genghis' Cum but I am told the fiction in it is centered around the perception of birth. This new collection takes on the theme of death with scenarios and set-ups that are worthy of the Grim Reaper and any self-respecting anarchist. The author has a feminist's slant on many things with stories that take on abortion, anorexia , mother-daughter relationships and more. This is not a random mixture of stories. They seem to be tailored picked to trigger all aspects of angst and dread about our personal destruction, psychologically and physically. Yet with all the darkness, they are often as darkly funny as the title that umbrellas them.

It would be difficult to give a analysis of some of these stories, so I will try to briefly tell you my favorites. "Air, Trees , Water, Animals" is a nice warning of what you are getting yourself into with the opening line, "I look like the abortion of Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra". "Warm, in Your Coat" is a story on eating disorders which is surreal and disturbing. "White Man Rental" turns the idea of white privilege on its head. "Live Nude Girls" is one of those stories where the author is in literary "word angst" right to the shocking finale. Yet two stories really stood out for me. "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" is one of the more straightforward tales yet still packs a punch. It could be called a nightmarish fairy tale. Finally "I Bite into Your Lit and Spit out Two Frank Pieces" is an examination of the creative process that tells me I would rather read about the author's mind than be in it.

Looking through these stories, I realize that they do not all work for me but they are all impressive. This is Bizarro literature at its best and most surreal. They tend to have a rock and roll take-no-prisoners feel; Patti Smith and Valerie Solanas mugging William S. Burroughs in an alley, so to speak. But they are true literary marvels and as shocking, disturbing and hilarious as they get, They will stay with you. Call them Surreal, Bizarro, or just weird. That is the best complement I can give.

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