South of the Pumphouse

Les Claypool, Author . Akashic $14.95 (190p) ISBN 978-1-933354-06-4

Brothers Ed and Earl Paxton are different mid-1990s products of the redneck California town El Sobrante: Earl, 36, is a meth-smoking greaser who stayed in town. Ed has tried to distance himself from his roots by going to state college, moving to Berkeley and marrying a black woman. His trip back to "ol' El Sob," prompted by nostalgic stirrings after his father dies, catapults him back to his past. The brothers leave on a fishing trip, and Ed is dismayed to discover that Earl's obnoxious friend, Donny Vowdy, a loquacious and flatulent man overflowing with stories of his sexual exploits, is along for the ride. While on the water, Earl is forced into the role of referee between Ed and Donny as the men, plied with beer, pot and psychedelic mushrooms, dredge up ancient arguments, but it is Earl's drug-fueled rampage that lands the brothers in trouble. Though Claypool, mostly known as the bass player in the band Primus, substitutes childhood flashbacks for character development and constructs a thin plot, his characters' escalating savagery culminates in a satisfyingly unsettling conclusion. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/24/2006
Release date: 07/01/2006
Open Ebook - 200 pages - 978-1-936070-47-3
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