Yeah. Right. So.
This book was weird. Like the post-apocalyptic step-child of Douglas Adams’ work weird.
To adapt a phrase from another oft surrealist work I enjoy–there’s a very thin line that separates entertaining absurdism from ‘WTF am I reading’, and that line is covered in radioactive cannibalistic pirates. And dancing zombies.
Yep, the disco kind.
To me this latest release from Curiosity Quills by author David Hammons represents the strength of indie publishing–in my mind there is a slim chance this book would be published in the traditional system as it was delivered to me. (Granted I did compare it to Adams, and obviously he got published, but that was years ago and now all bets are off.) The story is pretty tight. The writing is serviceable, and in my opinion an improvement from the other title I’ve read by Mr. Hammons. Characters are weird and wild, and honestly I appreciate the commitment to the shear drug-trip of a romp this was. I love me a humorous non-sequitur, and this book has them in spades, in addition to the unimaginably strange ‘normal’ story.
I enjoy absurdity to a degree, but BANANAS was a bit lower on the humor and higher on the tragedy and bleak reality than I expected. Given the setting, some violence is to be expected, and given the tone, it’s expected that some of the violence will be played off for humor–and that is the case, particularly with the character of Lewis, a mutant, tentacled human with super-healing abilities. But there was one scene in the first half of the book that just stuck out as too dark and evil for the rest of it. Even the tension-filled zombie dance-fest later was entertaining and goofy, which served to highlight to me how the scene on the pirate ship didn’t really fit with the mood.
The transition in Hank’s character from just curious post-apocalyptic foodie to seeker-of-world-ending-knowledge was also a bit choppy. This dampened the emotional resonance of the tale of this guy who is just trying to comprehend the violent, unpredictable world in which he’s found himself . I appreciate the idea of this guy trying to put meaning to his life in a ravaged world via food, but the ending doesn’t reach the heights it could if the character set-up had been more meticulous.
All this said, dear readers, if you’re in the mood for something generally funny, a titch violent, and truly bizarre, check out DON’T EAT THE GLOWING BANANAS, presumably available on Amazon.