Eugene Marten, Author . NY Tyrant $14.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61658-964-6

A bleak third novel by Marten (Waste ) obliquely pursues paranoia and grim circumstance via the twisted story of Jelonnek, a colorless, tight-lipped, not unsympathetic state government functionary, who, as the novel opens, is in jail after having been arrested during a prostitution sting. After his release, Jelonnek's routine is revealed: his live-in girlfriend is an equally nondescript bank employee. They both drink a lot, and he repeatedly watches the video of the same Kansas City Chiefs football game. The plot collects some impetus when Jelonnek attends his brother's wedding; while on a cigarette run with his sister's boyfriend, George, he finds himself on a horrifying joy ride after George picks up two black prostitutes and turns frighteningly abusive. After they ditch George, a road trip ensues with Jelonnek driving one of the women, Littlebit, and her young daughter, Miss D, to California to find an elusive cousin. Marten plays with ethnic and racial stereotypes and notions of “family,” as the three outcasts form a startlingly caring unit despite Jelonnek's increasing unbalance. Marten seems to delight in making the reader uncomfortable, though his prose can be as obfuscating as it is enlightening, blunting the impact of his unapologetically stark worldview. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/19/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
Open Ebook - 326 pages - 978-0-9885183-0-8
Paperback - 326 pages - 978-0-9913608-6-4
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