Saturday, August 31, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys by Jordan Krall

 

 

A nudist colony. A rare film. A donkey-headed woman. A murder. The hummingbird. Explore identity, marriage, madness, and obsession in a phantasmagoric orgy of violence and voyeurism.


BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE APOCALYPSE DONKEYS

a novella by Jordan Krall


Read the book that the Austin Post called "an unbounded work of literature that strongly defies what words can do while simultaneously celebrating what they can accomplish when carefully put together in a maddening dance of symbolism, connotations, denotations and sublime erotic detonations."


Jordan Krall has been praised by such authors as Tom Piccirilli, Edward Lee, and Carlton Mellick III. This work is a new direction in his weird fiction, like a paranoid nightmare from David Lynch and Russ Meyer.


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A vivid dream or nightmare that seems to flicker like a light bulb in a room filled with flies. There is something to see and there is something to not see. Words craft illusion and images that may or may not have been taped by David Croenenberg under an alias. If Croenenberg and David Lynch were asked to write a book together that must be their definition of a "Grindhouse-style" story while watching Stanley Kurbick movies, they might have written something like Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys.

The plot is executed as casually as the prose; the book unfolds like a rare VHS tape with bad tracking, something that is part guilty-pleasure and part novelty. It's the one video in a the adult film store that has a plot, the one video that gets rented and never returned. You could read this book in the same amount of time it takes for a pretentious Quentin Tarrantino dialogue sequence to finish, and you'd get more out of it. Even though I compared this book to a porn film that has a plot, it might be more accurate to suggest that most people underestimate the power of a good breakfast.

A nudist colony. A woman wearing a donkey mask. The search for a cult film that would put Salo to shame, or would at least make cable executives think about putting it on Fox to ensure the Donkey film doesn't get aired. Maybe this book has disturbing imagery, and maybe there's a motorcycle thrown in somewhere.  I can't remember. I had more fun "watching" this book than trying to figure it out.

"Figure it out?" I suppose this book should be sitting between Patricia Cornwell and James Patterson on Wal-Mart shelves, but I think this book would be better suited for airport bookstores alongside the likes of Jeffrey Deaver and Nora Roberts. Mystery and romance abound, and maybe there's social commentary on the ramifications of a society that loves casual sex, or maybe there isn't. A nude woman wore a donkey mask in this book, and a bunch of people were killed, or maybe they weren't.

If my review doesn't make sense, that's because you can't look for meaning in a dream or a nightmare that never leaves you. Images and sensations that pop into your brain when you're eating pancakes or watching a movie--this is the subconscious reminding you that you're alive, and that you exist, somewhere. In a couple years, I'll forget I read this book and think that I dreamt it, instead. Such is the power of a good read. I don't recommend this book, because I don't want you to read it. You'll ruin it. This is an all-time personal favorite. Go ahead and try to dissect this book. The donkey apocalypse is coming.