Author: Jack Remick
Pub: 2012; Coffeetown Press
Genre: Literary Fiction; Steam of Consciousness
ETC: Props up to LibraryThing's Early Review
"Realism is a trap you fall into by will" (207)
The Deification is a complicated book for me to review. So much so that I waited almost two weeks AFTER reading the book to let it settle in. Just hoping that I would have this Amazing aha-moment and my opinion would become clear.
'Cuz man, I like the book. BUT then there were plenty that just rubbed me the wrong way. Like I kept thinking: Why go there!!! I don't care!!
Aiight. Let me break it down. What interested me the most about the book was the homage it pays toward the Beats. Man, I was IN LOVE with some beat generation poetry and prose. Especially the fierce tempo. Spoken word was a Ginormous thing for me when I was in college. Not that **I** ever performed. Geez no. But I would spend many a night in a dimly lit, smoke filled coffee house drinking cheap beer and getting inspired. A close friend was a performer and man was he pure s3xy on stage. So anything that starts as a quest to be a part of The Movement I'm gonna read it. Even if it's merely for nostalgia.
Soooo...Deification, which means to immortalize, is a hero's journey. And the hero, like any good hero is complicated and tainted. Eddie is a teenager who has ran away from home to seek out his idol and last beat poet, Leo Franchetti. And it's during this road trip that leads him to one of my all-time favorite minor character, Layne.
Let me tell you what. Layne is such a powerful character. Eddie picks him up at a gas station. He's a wandering tranny doing tricks to make it. Unlike the usual protocol where minor characters are used to serve as movement in Plot or externalize a Trait in the main character, Layne was FULL ON FLESH AND BONES. And man did he bleed both figuratively and literally.
Unfortunately he was only in the first canto. Oh yeah, didn't I mention the book was divided in four cantos? Trendy, pretentious, or innovative?
Eventually Eddie does come to find Leo and although reluctant at first, Leo takes him under his wing. Eddie's first task:
"Read everything, Leo told him, because you need to know what great words feel like in your mouth. He looked up at the shelf- now half-read - of the masters. Read everything, Leo said, until your eyeballs burn. Read until your teeth fall out. Read it all because you're a keeper of the language, Eddie, a guardian of the Muse and if you let them the mongrel hordes of pseudo-poets will rape her and leave her for dead, so you read them all." (101)
The journey that Eddie goes on to become a poet is imaginative and filled with magical realism. Love it! There are moments that are total WTF-ery, but in a good way. I immediately associate it with the drug usage and acid trips of the Beats even though it is made clear from the get go that young Eddie neither drinks or uses recreational drugs.
All of these mystical excusions I adore but then about two-thirds of the way thru the book, the journey takes a very realistic and somewhat awkward turn. Eddie's post catches up with him and we're finally told why he ran away. Except. I. Didn't. Care. It was like I was cruisin' down the highway at 55 and then at the next curve in the road, the speed limit immediately drops to 35 without any warning. You're screwed. You've gotta hit the breaks if you even wanna attempt obeying the law.
I guess what I've heard as the biggest oh no he didn't moment was the end. But I didn't feel that way at all. It made perfect sense.
This appears to be a series, and this is one of book four. But don't let that worry you. I don't know if I'll race out to get book two when it's published and I'm okay with that because this one has left me satisfied.