Land of Allusions follows Andrew Davie as he negotiates life's various pitfalls while making pop culture references. Whether he's comparing his online dating experiences to Seinfeld's George Costanza, discussing how the film Platoon is the perfect analogy for teaching, or finding solace within the pages of the books of Buddhist nun Pema Chodron during ruptured brain aneurysm recovery. Split into two sections: comedy and tragedy, you'll discover the joy or sadness in any of these moments is just a matter of perspective.
Andrew Davie has worked in theater, finance, and education. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant and has survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. in January 2022, he'll begin a Clinical Mental Health MA program.
I received a free copy of Land of Allusions by Andrew Davie in return for an honest review.
Davie’s short memoir is an interesting and easy read. It has two sections: comedy (entertaining) and tragedy (both sorrowful and inspiring). Through both sections he connects his life experiences to pop culture via film, books, songs, and television—allusions.
The comedic section mostly deals with his online dating experiences and past romances. My first laugh came early, while reading the profile he posted on one of the dating apps. It includes this gem: “I spend a lot of time listening to Sleep’s ‘Dopesmoker,’ a sixty-two-minute song about a mystical alien race of marijuana enthusiasts who caravan on a pilgrimage toward Holy Mount Zion. At one point, I attempted to write a novella developed from the song’s lyrics.” I can’t decide, if I were younger, if reading that would attract or horrify me.
Then the fun begins. He offers the messages he sent to women who connected with him on a dating app and lets you know if they ever answered back. Here’s a section of one of his unanswered messages: “While it would ultimately seem we don’t have as much in common, both Billie Holiday and Black Sabbath have songs entitled ‘Solitude.’ (I realize you wrote Ella Fitzgerald, not Billie Holiday, but Ella Fitzgerald doesn’t have a song called ‘Solitude.’ Not to mention, I don’t think song titles like ‘Hole in the Sky,’ ‘Paranoid,’ or ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ are in her catalog either.)”
(BTW, Andrew, please note the difference in the words “entitled” and “titled.” I would have to mark you down for that in an essay.)
His tragedy section delves into his OCD and a ruptured brain aneurysm he suffered while boarding a plane (even this experience causes him to think of a book, this time, The Island of Dr. Moreau). He writes of his recovery from the aneurysm, which should have killed him, and how his life changed. There were parts that made me sad, but mostly I felt inspired. It brought to mind the Comeback Kid (Joe Montana, an ’80s film, name of a Canadian hardcore punk band, a song by the Sleigh Bells . . . oh, great, now I’m doing it).
The only thing that disappoints me in the book is that he cites only one of the number of quotes he uses. During my days as an English teacher I would have handed this back to him and demanded that he cite his quotes. And then I’d record his grade of an A+ in creative writing.
Andrew Davie's Land of Allusions is a gut-punch of a memoir divided into two sections. Part 1, Comedy, deals with Davie's highs and lows as it pertains to a variety of topics including interpersonal relationships, dating and of course, work. Davie peppers in a metric ton of pop culture references, including ( among others) Love in the Time of Cholera, the films of Jean Claude Van Damme and Spiderman (one of my favorite lines comes from this section: "In one section of the multiverse, where something like this is valuable, I’m probably worshipped like a god." Honestly, what self professed nerd hasn't secretly thought that?). Part 2, Tragedy, takes a decidedly sharp turn in which Andrew Davie suffers a brain aneurysm. It is in part two where much of Davie's humanity shines through. Many parts of this section left me quite dewy eyed. There is no doubt that this harrowing experience has taken a toll on the author. And yet for all that, Andrew Davie keeps on keeping on. To me pages 93 and 94 are downright awe inspiring. Very well done, Mr. Davie. Thank you for your open hearted honesty.
Davie is a warm, engaging writer who has clearly been through a lot over the course of the last few years, but he manages to write humourously throughout this memoir even during the tragedy phase recording his suffering and recovery from the aneurysm referenced in the title.
I am a huge fan of his crime fiction and have come to read many of his non-fiction pieces at The Daily Drunk site. This is in keeping with the quality of his other writing and the 21st century dating landscape sounds brutal. I have luckily avoided that having been spoken for throughout my 20s and 30s.
Davie is also a movie and pop culture reference machine and any references to High Fidelity will win me over. Throw in one to Serendipity and it's manna from heaven.
This is an honest, engaging and funny memoir that as with Davie's other books demands to be read such is the quality of the writing and authorial voice.
Davie pens an interesting memoir in Land of Allusions. I haven't read work from this author before, and I really enjoyed it. As the subtitle alludes to, the memoir is about "online dating, jobs, managing obsessive-compulsive disorder, surviving a ruptured brain aneurysm." What I liked best about this memoir was that it was real, humorous in some ways, emotional in other ways. Davie has a way of telling his story, with his thoughts out on the page, and I liked how he used imagery and other allusions. (If you're not a literary expert, you should know that an allusion is an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly). The story delves into Davie's mind, and experiences all from his perspective and thoughts about each situation. It's a grand story to read. It makes you think, and also see how Davie truly appreciates his life.
Land of Allusions takes us on a roller coaster ride as the author maneuvers through various parts of his life. His creative literary ability demonstrates a genius rarely found in millennial writing today. It is, in part, rich and warm, laugh-out-loud funny, as well as emotionally devastating. He touches on the taproots of a variety of experiences from on line dating to his inspirational and ongoing recovery from a brain aneurysm.
In the end we applaud his approach to life and become cheerleaders for his pursuit of clarity.
Just so we’re on the up and up, I received a free copy of this book from the author’s publicist in exchange for reviewing it.
Author Andrew Davie give us a peek into the ups and downs of his life in the new millennium. Whether it’s the less than perfect arena of online dating or recovering from a ruptured brain aneurysm, Davie approaches the situation with wit and charm.
This isn’t the type of thing I normally pick up, but I found this short memoir to be a fast read that pulled me right through.
This book makes me think about something eternal, like love. Love can't be fully online. It must be only alive. Literally. When you love online, you don't have feelings - you have allusions. If you have allusions, you only can exist. Think carefully about your relatives. How often do you see them? Not quite often? Well, it's because you spend your time online...
This book really touched me. I tore through it and couldn't wait for the outcome. The author went through a difficult and life changing experience. I laughed at the funny parts and fought back tears at the tragic parts. Life can knock us down and we can fight like Andrew did to overcome. I really recommend reading this book.