Review: And Then You Die by James H Longmore

I can’t describe what sort of taste was left in my mouth after reading James H Longmore’s …and Then You Die, a novel that marks my entry into the genre of bizarro, where absurdism and satire meet the weird and grotesque. If you find the concept of bizarro off-putting, then …and Then You Die  is not a book for you! But you’d be missing out on an extraordinarily visceral cultural experience.

“Following a drunken, hedonistic night out on the town in New Orleans, successful businesswoman and sexual deviant Claire Jepson accidentally soils herself in her expensive car. The resulting excrement comes to life as a terrifying, sardonic fecal spirit and not only dishes out a particularly gruesome death to Claire’s unfaithful, gold digging fiancé, but also thwarts a kidnap/murder plot by her employees and introduces Claire to a world of depraved pleasures beyond even her depraved imagination.

A year later, the errant spirit has spiraled wildly out of control with its insatiable appetite for perverted sex and human flesh and has destroyed both Claire’s business and life.

To her horror, Claire then discovers that the fecal spirit plans to consume her unborn child in order to attain immortality and she must return to the seedy underbelly of the Big Easy where her nightmare began in a heart-pounding race against time to confront the spirit’s creator; a high priest of a most ancient and deadly order, who is the only one who can put a stop to the spirit’s murderous intentions.

A wicked, fast-paced story laced with tongue-in-cheek, dark humor and which is at the same time incredibly erotic and stomach churning; definitely not one to be read whilst eating!”

Take heed of that last comment!

I consumed, no I devoured …and Then You Die, an off-the-wall tale laced with hilarity and an astonishing wit. Longmore does not mince his words, confronting the reader at every turn with the utterly detestable, lifting up the toilet lid on the excrement most prefer to flush away, and  bringing it to life in quasi-human form.

…and Then You Die is a sexy, earthy romp of the most deviant order. In protagonist Claire Jepson, a dot com businesswoman, Longmore makes a not so subtle comment on the debauched perversions of the moneyed classes. Through the protagonist’s initial accidental soiling, Longmore brings to life the shit pile. In an extraordinarily detailed expose, …and Then You Die goes on to explore in depth and in breadth every aspect of living shit.

Longmore’s pacing is excellent, the action never wanes, plot twists driving the tale into greater depths of degradation arriving on cue. The narrative contains a solid, four to the floor rhythm, a forward driving pulse that makes …and Then You Die a delight to read.  The author’s wit shines from every page, right down to his shit-in-the-bag entity that morphs into an antagonist with a voice like Russell Brand. Ever since Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, in which the main character wakes up to find he is a giant bug, authors have played with the grotesque in the paranormal. Longmore has penned a work of excellence, both in the quality of writing and in his ability to sustain a work that pivots on a single metaphor: shit.

…and Then You Die will appeal to lovers of dark comedy. Be warned! This is not a story for those with refined sensibilities easily offended by in-your-face revulsion. Think kinky and twisted Iain Banks.

You can find out more about James H Longmore here
Grab your copy here

Or find the novel through ALL good booksellers.

 

Advertisements

…the Forces of Darkness.

Blake

It is always good to discover new voices that contribute to a critique of our time. Much is made of George Orwell and Franz Kafka whose  insights in literary form resonate with many today. Out of the same groundswell of intellectual, artistic and literary dissent and concern for the suffering of humanity that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century, came second-generation Theosophist, Alice Bailey. Out of her vast collection of works, many of them metaphysical in nature, can be found some valuable insights into the nature of humanity. Today, I stumbled upon this paragraph while researching background material for my latest project.

Writing in 1938, Bailey writes:

”The Forces of Darkness are powerful energies, working to preserve that which is ancient and material; hence they are pre-eminently the forces of crystallisation, of form preservation, of the attractiveness of matter, and of the lure of that which is existent in the form life of the three worlds. They consequently block deliberately the inflow of that which is new and life-giving; they work to prevent the understanding of that which is of the New Age; they endeavour to preserve that which is familiar and old, to counteract the effects of the oncoming culture and civilisation, to bring blindness to the peoples and to feed steadily the existing fires of hate, of separateness, of criticism and of cruelty. These forces, as far as the intelligent peoples of the world are concerned, work insidiously and cloak their effort in fair words, leading even disciples to express hatred of persons and ideologies, fostering the hidden seeds of hatred found in many human beings. They fan to fury the fear and hate of the world in an effort to preserve that which is old and make the unknown appear undesirable, and they hold back the forces of evolution and of progress for their own ends.”  Externalisation of the Hierarchy, Lucis Trust, 1957, p 76.

I find this an excellent summation of the crises humanity faces at the current time: Whether climate change, war, hunger, social injustice, at root all these crises have been and continue to be fostered by the corruption and selfishness of the world’s powerful elite.  Bailey’s is one voice among many, her perspective inspiring some and not others. I draw from a number of wells but find it refreshing to dip into her esoteric waters now and then, even if, as today, purely by chance.