Taty Went West

Nikhil Singh. Rosarium, $17.95 trade paper (370p) ISBN 978-0-9987059-0-3
In South African author Singh’s transgressive debut, 16-year-old Taty runs away from home and finds more than she bargains for in the lawless jungle of the Outzone: “a forest of dead time, a necrotic wonderland, a province of waking coma where time itself had grown sickly and died.” Lured in by the gun-toting, sharp-clawed Miss Muppet, Taty is bopped on the head and whisked away to the jungle pleasure palace of “imp pimp” Alphonse Guava and his creepy companions, including a Religio Robot named Number Nun who has been hijacked and reprogrammed to serve Guava’s degrading desires; Michelle, a crucified girl who drags her cross behind her; “detachable Siamese” twins who can unjoin at will; and murderous zombie Typhoid Mary. Taty is pressed into a life of servitude as a “ghost girl,” providing psychosexual pleasure to a host of exceedingly strange clients. When Guava’s rival crime lord, Mister Sister, introduces his new pleasure provider, a symbiote that indelibly changes its hosts, this leads to all-out war. Singh has a gift for memorable visuals, but this circus sideshow frequently veers into the absurd, and the characters don’t demand much emotional investment. This is a series of set pieces designed to shock and assault the senses, a phantasmagorical confection that exhausts more than it intrigues. Illus. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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