Sasha Martinez's Reviews > How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Novel

How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive by Christopher Boucher
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Oct 02, 2011

bookshelves: 2011

What strange creature are you? What manner of sorcery, Christopher Boucher? So very strange, with its own dream-logic and its own contortions of language. It’s a world built on symbolism and puns and metaphors, and everything still makes sense, and it still manages to be affective. Maybe Kevin Thomas’ damned effective and accurate and so very right comic-review will help do the defining?

How the hell do you accomplish a book like this—it’s a baffling and bewildering accomplishment. How to make it so heartwarming, constructed as it is out of the absurd? A 1971 Volkswagen for a son. A narrator without a name because he sold it for a couple of hours—here, time is currency. Men are killed by renegade Heart Attack Trees. Tennis racquets get depressed. Stories are surgically removed from one’s person—amputated, more like it—and we see the amputee shuffling from the recovery room to discover that the life he thought awaited him, the woman he thought awaited him, was made of nothing but his fictions. Your own rules, your own standards of rationality. How do you do it?

It’s playful, it’s inventive, it’s clever. But it’s got heart. It does test my patience whenever Boucher decides to expand and elaborate on his already cluttered vision, when he’s got more than enough reason to calm down and tell the story that he really wants told. But it’s okay. It was fun. I had a lot of fun. And yes, the gimmick, yes, it’s there—but the heart’s bigger, definitely bigger. And that’s what matters more, at least me.
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