Tortla's Reviews > The Beard

The Beard by Andersen Prunty
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May 31, 09

Read in May, 2009

** spoiler alert ** Interesting and at times quite amusing, but it reads like he was making it up as he went along. Or maybe transcribing a random (and long) dream. So I guess it's amusing if that's what he was doing. Good even, for the way that he ties the random diversions together and makes them a part of the story. But otherwise, it's kind of inexcusable. Like Palahniuk but without the social commentary tying it together.

Here's the plot:
Protagonist (David Glum, I think) is sitting around with his grandfather when he's a young'un, and being told a story about "elephant winds" which come and take people away. Suddenly, an elephant wind comes and takes his grandfather away. Much later, this Glum guy is trying to publish a book. He encounters strange people, including someone who seems to be impersonating him. Nobody wants his book. He eats a hallucinogenic sandwich and more weird things happen. He goes home and decides that the new purpose for his life (now that he has given up writing) will be to grow a beard. His mother dies. He sees his sister at the funeral. She, like most of the other characters, is obnoxious. He finds out the man he thought was his dad was wearing a dad-costume. They go on a road trip to recover his grandfather, who was kidnapped because he stole a fire from a weird alternate reality universe. There is mention of anthropology and solipsism. Weird things continue to happen. They go to the weird alternate reality land and find the grandfather and the mother (who never really died, that was *her* impostor, of course) and the protagonist's beard gets burned when he returns the magical flame ("brilliance"). He decides to stay in magical-land and make up dreams for people, which he likens to storytelling. He marries some random dream-maker lady. There are some heavy handed statements near the end about the value of storytelling and the nature of dreams. The end.

I guess it's an amusing story, but I can't help feeling cheated by its shallowness. It's like it's trying too hard to say absolutely nothing, but still have cute quote-able moments a la Kurt Vonnegut.

And I don't like the picture (cover?) that shows up at the top of every chapter. It's annoying.
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Reading Progress

05/04/2009 page 40
20.0%
05/04/2009 page 40
20.0% "(by page 40 I mean the beginning of chapter 6)" 1 comment
05/07/2009 page 60
30.0% "(by which I mean the beginning of chapter 12)"
05/16/2009 page 120
60.0% "(by which I mean I'm in the middle of chapter twenty-two...silly math)"
05/28/2009 page 120
60.0% "middle o' chapter twenty-four"

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