cover image Kraków Melt

Kraków Melt

Daniel Allen Cox, Arsenal Pulp (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 paper (152p) ISBN 978-1-55152-372-9

In repressive Poland in 2005, gay artist Radek vents his considerable frustration with small acts of rebellion (like setting fires) and with a street game called parkour, in which players race around the city leaping over obstacles. His sex life is skittish (he does it with his clothes on), and at his gallery show his popsicle-stick maquette of Chicago circa 1871 causes a sensation when he lights it to recreate the city's famous fire. This bit of performance art brings out burly firefighters and an unlikely kindred soul, Dorota, an artist and professor, who invites him to her class, where his rough treatment of the students pleases her, surprisingly. They become partners in crime, literally and figuratively. But his intense connection with a woman does not sit well with some of his gay activist friends. Cox's (Shuck) splintered narrative, polished to an incisive gloss, bristles with both mischief and menace, and any of its short, titled chapters could stand alone. References to Pink Floyd, Polish pope John Paul II, and an unquenchable anger course from the first page to the last—a pointillistic poisoned pill. (Oct.)