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fargo burns

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Kos Kostmayer’s novel Fargo Burns—the first of his four novels coming out from Dr. Cicero Books—takes its title from the main character, a 32-year-old, Mississippi-born New Yorker who makes two serious mistakes and spends the rest of his life trying to undo the damage. Mistake #1: Fargo goes mad, violently so, and turns into a dog. He finds himself in a mental hospital under the care of a psychiatrist (whom he believes to be Virginia Woolf). Released from the hospital, Fargo makes mistake #2: he begins an affair with a professional killer’s girlfriend.

The story, which moves back and forth between the Mississippi Delta and New York City, unfolds at the height of the war against Vietnam, a time of turmoil, revolutionary change and violent upheaval in American society. Kostmayer, an award-winning playwright and poet, brings concision and beauty to his exploration of the dread that lies at the heart of so much American violence.

Fargo Burns commits an act of violence and then struggles to atone. The struggle is fierce, and it touches on race, religion, sex, history and politics as it charts an unpredictable course that begins in a scene of madness and ends with a knife fight in a dark New York City cathedral. Between the madness he unleashes and the violence he confronts, Fargo Burns finally learns what it means to be a man instead of a dog. It is a lesson that comes at a very high price.

214 pages, Paperback

Published March 3, 2020

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Kos Kostmayer

2 books2 followers

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Profile Image for Amy.
262 reviews49 followers
August 22, 2020
Well, this book was a pleasant surprise. The many topics covered are difficult topics on their own, however, as unconventional as the writing is in this book, author Kos Kostmayer did a wonderful job moving through each one.
Topics include: mental illness, mixed race relationships, racism, drug and alcohol addiction, child abuse, poverty, suicide, promiscuity and death.

Fargo Burns has a mental illness, A serious mental illness that lands him in a psychiatric facility barking like a dog.
He eventually becomes well enough for discharge, but his marriage is over. He rents a room, goes on welfare, and attempts to work out visitation with his wife for his two children, and get a job. This is his journey.

The characters are colorful, vibrant. Fargo is a prime example a mind that fractures when being a human being, a man in today's world, becomes too much for him. The voices follow him everywhere. His drug and alcohol use does not help. We go on a journey through his childhood, through portions of his family history, through his mental illness, and his relationships with friends, family, psychiatrist, and lovers.

I highly recommend this book. The format is a bit hard to finagle, if your willing to give it a go, it is very much worth it.

Thanks to NetGalley, the Publisher, and Kos Kostmayer for an ARC in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Tina.
697 reviews108 followers
May 8, 2020
FARGO BURNS is a novel about a man, Fargo Burns, who has a mental breakdown and hears voices in his head. I really liked the unique premise and this book was definitely an interesting read but the dialogue could get confusing sometimes. It was a blur in some parts to tell what was real but that was probably the point.
Profile Image for The BGR.
Author 3 books22 followers
December 10, 2021
This is a cool book, a sort of psychological, mental health coming-of-age tale simply but oddly and creatively told: a loss of sanity as explored through childhood trauma, and a stab at returning to sanity ... no pun intended.

'Fargo Burns', turns out, has a double meaning; and though its details waxed and waned on me, it's a stunning ending (as with the beginning) that works with the whole text to communicate something very powerful about male-hood, manhood, female-hood and womanhood, and how the power of a woman to affect a male into a man lies in her ability to hold him accountable while still remaining easygoing and non-judgmental of him. (This is also an indication of her womanhood.) I just love how Fargo's wife is portrayed, as "terrific" by everyone: her husband is a maniac, struggling but she still maintains a very heartwarming relationship with him that includes taking his children to him.

I don't know why, but I was just utterly stunned (and moved) by the end (standing ovation). In the end, a male must find his own manhood despite all the support in place, and I just love how also the savagery of that is portrayed as well. It's a psychological battle that, spun out of control, becomes a dangerous physical battle to stay alive. This book will stay with me for a while. *Howls then barks like a dog.
Profile Image for Clazzzer C.
557 reviews13 followers
June 23, 2020
This was such a weird read, like nothing I've ever read before. There was so much going on, too much really, that I found it a little over whelming. While Fargo's past experience in the mental hospital if fodder enough for any novel, so too is his affair with the hitman's girlfriend. I don't think the busy background of the Vietnam was called for in this storyline. Politics, history, race and sex are all brought to the forefront in this complicated tale that sees Fargo move from thinking he is a dog to falling in love and committing an act of serious violence. It was certainly a thought provoking read but I did get a little lost at times. It was interesting though.
Profile Image for Caroline Venables.
625 reviews9 followers
January 10, 2021
This is such a different read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Written in a very different way, I found it refreshing even though the subject matter is serious.

The story follows Fargo as he tries to atone for his past, unfortunately things don’t go to plan.

As things go from bad to worse you find yourself rooting for him and even getting angry at his decisions.

It is extremely well written in a very unique way. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Danielle Greaves.
264 reviews7 followers
December 10, 2020
This has to be one of the most unique yet strange books I've ever read. Its written in a completely different style than I would normally read, with different punctuation and grammar - no speech marks. I was very fascinated by this!

I found myself fighting against loving the main character, Fargo, as his self destructive nature can be slightly disturbing. The journey he takes within himself is fascinating though.
I did struggle with it slightly because it's not my favourite style of book, it seemed to focus on certain story lines that I didn't expect and I found myself confused about who was talking during some sections.

Quirky book recommended for people who like to read poetry and plays - centred around mental health, abuse, addiction and dealing with your own inner demons.
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews

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