cover image The Suiciders

The Suiciders

Travis Jeppeson. Semiotext(e) (MIT, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-58435-125-2

Jeppeson’s (Wolf at the Door) sometimes murky, and often loopy, third novel manages to entertain even when the reader may be having a hard time figuring out exactly what’s happening. His special talent is for vivid, uncommon images or observations: “Sometimes at the root of exhaustion we find something worth preserving.” There’s also consistently uncommon imagery with a visceral, if not a literal, coherence: “The snow is holy, a farce. Why am I sad it snows... The White Nothing.” The barebones plot: a group of seven friends live together in a house “on a journey to remain teens forever.” Outrageous episodes (real or imagined) ensue, with everyone from Grandma to a parrot named Jesus H. Christ to a Whore with no name (note the capital “W”) to the Pope. The option of suicide underlies all that they do, or don’t do. Jeppeson has even turned the word into a verb. “Will Rand suicide one day like me and my friends?” Often the activities of the housemates are arrestingly coarse, and most are unprintable here. Like the best experimental writing, Jeppeson’s prose impacts in ways that conventional narrative can’t and, by virtue of its insights and audacity, consistently delights. (Oct.)