There is a somehow hypnotic and projective quality about all of Harmony Korine's works. What is presented never ceases to be both stunningly beautiful...moreThere is a somehow hypnotic and projective quality about all of Harmony Korine's works. What is presented never ceases to be both stunningly beautiful and unbearably ugly simultaneously. "Gummo" is currently my overall favorite film for a nearly infinite number of reasons. One of these reasons is that every scene has the potential to be picked apart and/or pieced together literally and symbolically. Another reason is that the film succeeds radiantly at inventing and presenting a world that is both 100% realistic and entirely dreamlike. I had originally purchased this book mainly to read the original screenplay for "Gummo." I have found that the other two screenplays, "Jokes" and "julien donkey-boy" are nearly just as riveting. The transcript of "julien donkey-boy" that concludes the collection does not serve much justice to the film. (It is widely believed that the transcript was not even written by Korine.) Otherwise, this is a marvelous treasure for any fan or enemy of Korine's films. I do recommend watching the actual movies beforehand (sans "Jokes," which was never completed), but this is a must-read collection that helps to explore Harmony Korine's works further for all of his fans.(less)
"The book is called, 'A Crackup at the Race Riots.' Harmony Korine wrote it, although he can't really recommend it." -- David Letterman
To me, there is...more"The book is called, 'A Crackup at the Race Riots.' Harmony Korine wrote it, although he can't really recommend it." -- David Letterman
To me, there is something majestically and inarguably captivating about this first novel from the so-called "enfant terrible" of dramatic independent film. Its synopsis states clearly that no plot, linear narrative, character development, or scene setting exists. Everything is somehow connected though, as each and every page investigates and/or muses upon the fractured leftovers of everywhere and everyone on this planet. Korine perfectly presents "a novel setting about the bastard wisher" with a pure, refined combination of pulchritude and putridity. Throughout his entire career, Harmony Korine has managed to turn the beautiful and the ugly into each other simultaneously, thus, allowing those who willingly acknowledge his work to possibly find some sort of new meaning within life. I personally believe that pages 6 and 175 serve as bookends that connect and complete all that lies between them. T.S. Eliot's words accidentally anthropologically endorse Korine both as a novelist and as a person. The paragraph of text that ends the book serves a very similar purpose. Most people have deemed "A Crackup at the Race Riots" as a literary companion piece to "Gummo," but moreover, this novel is actually a companion piece to everything that Harmony Korine has created (or destroyed).
My only possible complaint would be that the book may end up being read with lightning-speed by any diehard fan of the author. Otherwise, "A Crackup at the Race Riots" is an essential collection for those who either appreciate or despise how Korine has developed an ultimate portrait of omnipresence.(less)
Just as one of Stephen King's best short story collections encourages the reader to work the "Night Shift," this riveting anthology from Jeremy Robert...moreJust as one of Stephen King's best short story collections encourages the reader to work the "Night Shift," this riveting anthology from Jeremy Robert Johnson encourages the reader to enter the "Angel Dust Apocalypse." Reading this book does indeed have the feel of entering a newfound, blissful end of the world (or, more accurately, of the world as we know it). Johnson's writing clearly pulls influence from not only great horror authors such as King but also great satire authors such as Vonnegut, literary authors such as Wallace, and even occasionally, experimental authors such as Pynchon. With these influences in mind, however, Johnson also manages to clearly present a unique style of his own. Each of these 20 or so short stories, be it classified as bizarro in the context of a man's determination to shock the most residents of an already shocking world, or as tragedy in the context of an irrational phobia gradually consuming a life, or as slice-of-life in the context of a burdening brotherhood driven by spite and circumstance rather than love, is narrated with a conversational yet captivating voice that perfectly accompanies the hilarious, heartbreaking, or horrific plot.
The only short story collection I've read that seemed absolutely flawless to me has been James Joyce's "Dubliners," and literary fanatics ought to know the obvious reasons. "Angel Dust Apocalypse" comes very close though, for these stories range from surreal to unreal to ugly to beautiful, and everywhere in between, and regardless they are always gripping and powerful. They serve as proof that Jeremy Robert Johnson possesses an unparalleled talent for storytelling and deserves to have a great writing career ahead of him.(less)