Friday, May 6, 2016

Strangeness in the suburbs

The Hanover Block

By Gregor Xane

Publisher: New Dollar Pulp

Pub. Date: November 2, 2014

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Marion has returned home after a day's work to find that his neighbors are building weird things on their lawns; sheds, playhouses, domes, even an outhouse on one person's property. It is a mystery to him until he discovers something in his yard....

That's all you are getting for a synopsis. In The Hanover Block Gregor Xane has written a very strange novel bordering between Bizarro and Fredric Brown styled satire a la Martians Go Home. His novella has a surrealist tinge but never really go over the edge into incoherency. When we get to that which will not be mentioned it definitely gets strange and maybe a little uncomfortable for some readers. If you want a hint, look at the cover. Xane gets to the mystery slowly and steadily while building the Bizarro nature of the tale. While much of the novel is in Marion's perspective., it occasionally moves into the perspective of stoned voyeurs Buddy and Trevor where we get an explanation of the weird activities...sort of.

And it is that "sort of" that bothers me. As much as I was taken by Xane's strange tale, the weirdness doesn't quite gel. Marion, Buddy, and Trevor are like players in a scene they do not understand therefore the observer does not neither. There is a lot of weird but no heart. Good Bizarro, if that is what this is, needs to take the next step to connect the reader in a world they never knew existed or even wanted to know if it existed and The Hanover Block doesn't quite get there. At the end, i was like "and then?" and left waiting for the sequel. In this noble experiment, I am not sure that was the intention of the writer.

The Hanover Block is an interesting reading experience. It is worth the time to experience Xane's strange creative mind. But it didn't grab me or make me wonder. That is what I was looking for. Yet there is enough there to desire to read more by the author and that is a good thing.

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