Gojiro

Mark Jacobson, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $19.95 (356p) ISBN 978-0-87113-396-0
This remarkable first novel combines the manic energy of monster movies and comic books with a serious and sad look at the post-nuclear world. At center stage are two friends. One is Gojiro, a 500-foot-tall lizard who has swollen to his extraordinary size--and acquired the shrewd brain of higher life forms--as a result of an atomic test. Then there's his comrade Komodo, a human victim of Hiroshima. A mystical and telepathic bond unites them; they make a home for themselves and other radiation victims on a volcanic island in the middle of a ``roiling petrochemical sea.'' But Gojiro becomes a movie star, setting out with Komodo for Hollywood at the strange request of a film producer (whose father was involved with the Manhattan Project tests that produced Gojiro). They soon uncover a plot to test new atomic weapons that, in the best comic book tradition, threatens the world. The plot is fast-moving and fun, but the bulk of the book consists of long, philosophical dialogues between the austere youth and the wisecracking monster--whose hipster jargon is a perfect imitation of the late rock critic Lester Bangs. The novel's beauty lies in the way these often hilarious conversations strike a poignant note while the ``mutants'' try to come to grips with the horrors of their lives. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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