Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A novel extraordinaire

This is a review of the novel The Defenseless by Amos Keppler.

Today’s bookstores are filled with mediocrity, with the dreary and trite. Potential monetary value or narrow, very narrow cultural considerations more than resembling censorship rule what’s published or not.

Or… at least that was how it used to be. Now, when the age of POD (Print on Demand) and self-publishing has arrived in earnest, the future suddenly looks much more promising.

Three qualities were usually lacking in times past, often because of those reasons of monetary value and considerations mentioned above. The story is mostly missing in works published through traditional means, genuine penmanship and daring, controversial content as well.

If you by a miracle should find one, you won’t find the second and certainly not the third.

The Defenseless has all three.

Like others have pointed out the first chapter reminds me slightly of Metamorphosis by Kafka, but after that all resemblance to anything else vanishes completely. It becomes a blazing trail of originality, of life and realism jumping from the pages. Reactions from people reading a Keppler novel is usually one of two extremes: either you love it beyond measure or you dislike it intensively. One can understand that. It goes straight at the jugular of modern human life, exposing it for the hollow sham it is.

Ted Cousin, his brother and sister and cousins, and those who would be his friends are all strange birds in the present day human society, alienated from it and from themselves in ways wide like an abyss, desperate for some kind of connection, understanding. But the connection remains out of reach. Understanding eludes them.

As the story progresses the crack, the abyss widens to a horrible degree.

I love it when art tells me something straight up, and still leaves depth and texture, and this novel does. It is first and foremost an engaging story, but goes so much deeper than most stories, on so many levels of complexity. After a couple of chapters where the author has taken you beyond anything you’ve ever known or understood, you feel he can’t take you any further on that beyond passionate and desolate road, but he does, until the absolutely devastating, slamming in the face end. One cannot help being affected by it, pulled into its irresistible maelstrom. I read it in two hectic days and nights, and I sat there sweating afterwards, stunned, a wide range of emotions and questions raging through me.

That’s how I want to feel after having read a novel.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fading skeleton girls

It's getting increasingly unacceptable to me, the beyond skinny models that have become the idol, the model for generations of girls.

When Tyra Banks, in a prime time American television program hails a girl that is so thin that she may drop dead at any moment I want to puke my guts out, and not because I fear I've eaten too much.

Women with healthy forms are scolded for being fat. What is this shit? Did anyone cry distorted values?

Look at the girl above. Will there be anything, anything at all left of her in a few months' time?

We, the female of the species have always been controlled, one way or another in the patriarchal, macho society, but it's getting worse, not better, in many ways. They have just found sneakier ways of controlling us.

The skeleton crew of the modern female won't get any respect from me, and doesn't deserve any.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How to ruin a potentially successful evening

Everything was setup for a nice evening. He picked me up at eight o’clock with his expensive car, and kissed me on my lips. The kiss was like an electric current and made me feel a pleasant hum in my body. I looked softly at him while he was driving and he returned my look of affection. He overdid it a bit and almost drove off the road several times. That made me laugh loud and happy.

We didn’t have to wait in line at the restaurant. There weren’t that many people there, and just low-keyed conversation. He lit the candles and personally opened the bottle the waiter brought us. I tasted the red wine while holding his eyes glued to mine. We had dinner. I don’t remember what, only that it didn’t matter.

Our conversation was actually a conversation, not the indifferent drivel I was used to. He was excited and I was excited. There was no discussion, only an exchange of thoughts, all of it so very, very sexy. My eyes twinkled when I looked into his.

I am very good at swimming below the surface, I declared. I can remain under much longer than most people.

He looked at me, clearly skeptical.

It’s because I am able to breathe far better than the average person in the water, I said. The breathing reflex is generally delayed under the surface. It’s related to humanity’s possible past in the water, before we became what we are today. We’ve got tight skin, while all other apes haven’t. Some people are born with the ability to stay under in the water longer than others. One may be in worse shape and still be able to stay under longer.

He enjoys listening to me, enjoys looking at me when I’m excited. I can see that when I’m looking at him, and I can feel the warm glow inside grow and multiply.

We’re breathing with our skin as well, I added.

I thought we were only breathing through our lungs, he said cautiously.

Not at all, I emphasized. If we hadn’t been breathing through our skin we would have died pretty fast. A great way of killing a guy is to paint him all over the body. He will begin choking fast and croak in a matter of minutes.

I notice it instantly. It was like cracking a balloon, his balloon. The chemistry between us faded like dew before the morning sun.

A guy may be rescued by removing the paint quickly, I added meekly, in an attempt to redeem myself, to once again light the glow in his now very dead eyes.

Everything turned sour after that. The conversation broke down in disarray and we split after half an hour.

Is it me, or is this guy totally off base?

I mean, the subject would have come up sooner or later, anyway, since I clearly have a morbid sense of humor, a gallows humor making me laugh in all the wrong places and stuff, so perhaps it was a good thing that it turned out like it did?

No matter, the result was that we both ended up alone in bed that night, unless he found himself a meek slut that didn’t scare the hell out of him…

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wet facts a day in March

Women earn, on average a lot less than men. We may do exactly the same job, and even do it better, but still be paid less. Many fantastic explanations are given for this, even for why it should be like this, but none of them should be taken seriously.

«The market sets the salary».

«The boss has the right to give his employees the salary he thinks the employees deserve».

This is what I have to look forward to as a female employee the next fifty years, if I’m lucky. And it doesn’t necessarily take a turn for the better, but for the worse.

We’re discriminated against solely because of our sex, among other reasons because of religious dogmatism, institutionalized through centuries. In many places and areas we’re forced to be our own warden. We’re even enraged when people dare to imply we’re being oppressed.

Burn a bible today, you, too.

Many women, among them Sarah Palin works hard to make it even harder for us, both as employees and in society in general.

We’re still seen as objects of men’s desire, as an extension of men, fifty years after we burned bras and skirts. Most women still accept society’s dogmatic views. The fact that we accept being given our male partner’s name in marriage is merely one of those. Many even kneel before the altar and repeat religious declarations of submission. Sometimes I am tempted, sorely tempted into believing that people aren’t thinking at all.

Lots of men also feel that this is a bad thing, actually. They want, as incredible as it may sound women able and willing to think and act independently, and not be men’s parrot, his doormat.

In my eyes current society is hostile to all humans, to both men and women, but that women have it slightly worse is beyond doubt.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The book of books

I want to write a book, non-fiction or a film, a documentary, describing in detail, from the ground up the building blocks of the current society, how everything, every single detail is flawed, is fundamentally wrong.

The wrongness reveals itself to me piece by piece, blocks by blocks, like a slow-marching band. I want to reveal it all, from the ground up. It’s easy, really, since you notice it everywhere. The book or the film becomes a matter of logistics, not fact-finding. Those with open eyes have no trouble finding facts.

I want to interview people all over the world, both «experts» and people, about both the decline in the environment and in human society as a whole. There is no lack of illustrations looking at it from either angle. Food, health, green areas and life itself are fading away, slowly, quick as lightning, like the dew before the sun in the morning. There are those claiming the current human society, civilization itself has become a ravenous machine gobbling up everything of true value, leaving nothing but destruction, disintegration in its wake. That’s a more than a true observation.

From the smallest of truths to the big issue we know the truth.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Money can buy happiness

They can’t guarantee it, but may, for several reasons help you pretty far along. You can’t get everything for money, but you can get quite a lot, also, indirectly devotion and commitment from another human being. Most ladies or gentlemen taken for a ride in a luxurious boat or private airplane will usually be in a very good mood after a while.

Lise, as the very creative person she is, is imagining the following scenario: your new boyfriend picks you up in his limo. His private chauffeur opens the door for you. The boyfriend takes you on a daytrip to Amsterdam, where the two of you dine in a restaurant where the steak has been flown straight from Argentine. There are candles on the table. The two of you sip bubbled water. Two hours later you are fucking your brains out in the enormous suite at the hotel. Well into the next morning he proposes and gives you a giant diamond ring. You say yes with an excited howl and in wild joy.

Young and cynical and realistic Lise strikes again.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Coming up

A lot of interesting stuff about the less known parts of human existence.