In this satirical, post-frog-plagued, bizarro alt-future, most of humanity has been reengineered by an evil restaurateur. Bushido Budnick is a mad masIn this satirical, post-frog-plagued, bizarro alt-future, most of humanity has been reengineered by an evil restaurateur. Bushido Budnick is a mad master chef slash scientist of sorts, who has clawed his way to the top of the food chain, breathing life into strange (and tasty) fish and frog-like minions, who also serve as Menu Items if they fail to please their creator.
Not one to let things simmer, Barbee throws us headfirst into a dungeon cell where our hillbilly samurai hero, Jimbo Yojimbo, and his ghost daddy are making a quick escape. Jimbo's taken a revenge oath against Bushido and plans to kill him and bring his entire Buddha Gump Shrimp Company down with him.
Along the way, he has to fight endless armies of crawds and Quakers, genetically enhanced crayfish and ducks, all the while trying to shake Toadlicker, Bushido's grotesquely modified superspy and right-hand-man, who's convinced himself that Jimbo Yojimbo is his ultimate match.
Fans of bizarro fiction will find much to appreciate here - Barbee's imagination truly knows no bounds - while newbies to the genre, provided they are prepared to suspend reality father than they've ever suspended it before, are guaranteed to identify with the book's underlying themes of love, loss, and an unquenchable blood thirsty vengance.
Jimbo Yojimbo is an action packed, mind blowing clash of good vs evil set in a world in which the only rule is that there are no rules....more
Points for a cool title and a pretty solid audio narration. But the book itself left me feeling incredibly underwhelmed. In the end, if I'm being honePoints for a cool title and a pretty solid audio narration. But the book itself left me feeling incredibly underwhelmed. In the end, if I'm being honest with myself, it's absolutely a case of "it's not you, it's me". I expected the book to be something it was not. And I suppose I was anticipating our protagonist's pregnancy would go in a direction the author never meant it to go.
I mean, when you pick up a book that states "evolution has reversed itself" and "the world as we know it is ending" and "woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be a primitive species of humans"... that's kind of setting the stakes right up there, don't you think?
((Ok, so tread lightly from here, because I may start to spoil things, if you can call 'telling you what made me so mad about the book' spoiling it, because I'm gonna let know what stuff is left hanging... so consider yourself warned....))
Perhaps it's due to the close first person perspective, but as readers, we aren't really exposed to the pandemic/illness/regressionism that's supposedly plaguing the world. Or the terrible horrors that are supposedly gestating within the women. But we are exposed, in excruciating detail, to one pregnancy, specifically that of a twenty-something year old adoptee, Cedar Hawk Songmaker.
As Cedar tries to track down her birth family to gain a better understanding of what genetic diseases her unborn baby may inherit, she learns that pregnant women are being collected and held at "hospitals" under a new martial law, while others are being "recruited" in an attempt to impregnate them with pre-collapse specimens from sperm banks. There are rewards for turning in those with child, and of course, eventually, our Cedar finds herself in one such "hospital".
I cared less about her personal pregnancy, finding myself much more enthralled in what was happening around her, much to my dismay because again, super close first person limits us to knowing and experiencing only what our main gal was privy to, which unfortunately for us, wasn't much. As I listened to the narration, I began to become frustrated with Cedar in general - she was quite neurotic and obsessive, and a little spoiled, but she was also infuriatingly accepting of whatever situation she found herself in.
As I type this, I am gritting my teeth at the fact that I will just never know what the hell was going on with those damn babies and how exactly the world was regressing and what the fuck now, Cedar, huh? Louise, what the fuck were you thinking just giving us a taste, a whiff, a side-boob peek of the de-evolution of humanity. How could you tease something as awesome-sounding as that and just expect us to be ok with that?!...more
I've been a fan of Denis Johnson's writing every since I picked up Jesus' Son on audiobook, stumbling across it in a wholesale distributor pop-up shopI've been a fan of Denis Johnson's writing every since I picked up Jesus' Son on audiobook, stumbling across it in a wholesale distributor pop-up shop in 2012. Will Patton's whispery, clench-teethed narration perfectly complimented the drug addled voice of the collection's protagonist and Denis Johnson's sparse and powerful writing. I was glued to my car's speakers to and from work. I felt the words of the interconnected stories pulsing through me.
Over the years, I've continued to listen to Johnson's books, continued to soak in Will Patton's narrations, and upon hearing of the posthumous Largesse, I was especially eager to grab this one on audio as well.
It should be no suprise that the writing is just as powerful, and the characters just as fucked up. The five stories feature men who are older, troubled, and still living with some pretty heavy demons. Listening to the collection, I couldn't help feel as though Denis was pouring himself out onto the pages, releasing some of his own skeletons from the closet. Not a word is wasted. Death looms mightily on each of their horizons. And one of the ending lines is a god damn sucker punch:
"The world keeps turning. It's plain to you that at the time I write this, I'm not dead. But maybe by the time you read this." ...more