Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Book-A-Day #17: THE FUN WE'VE HAD, a novel that surprised me


THE FUN WE'VE HAD
MICHAEL J SEIDLINGER

Lazy Fascist Press
$11.95 trade paper, available now

Rating: 6* of five

The Publisher Says: Two lovers are adrift in a coffin on an endless sea. Who are they? They are him and her. They are you and me. They are rowing to salvage what remains of themselves. They are rowing to remember the fun we've had.

My Review: The Doubleday UK meme, a book a day for July 2014, is the goad I'm using to get through my snit-based unwritten reviews. Today's prompt is to discuss a novel that surprised you.

Seidlinger is what a mating between Djuna Barnes and Samuel Beckett would've produced: Illusionless in his pessimism, joyful in his schadenfreude, and both human and humane enough to wrap his bitter pills in pretty words.
He wasn't at all sure this was excitement, but at least for now, the glimpsing of something else, something, anything, was enough to keep the momentum, the same momentum that seemed to outline his days. What might have been a lazy, relaxing Saturday became a cause for adventure, a curious matching between him and her, their search to be out, on the city, the town, so as to stave off being on the outs with each other.
That's what it is, was, and will always be.
Nothing would change. Nothing is wrong.
This is just another adventure. New thrill.
"Are we having fun?"
Of course they are. When every feeling is time-stamped and the life you lead becomes the life you led, there cannot be a whole lot more to do except admit right from wrong.
So, Michael Seidlinger. He's this guy, you know?

He wrote this book, which before we go any further down the rabbit hole let me assure you I purchased with my very own United States dollars as I am nowhere *near* hip/cool/hot/whatever enough to score an ARC, a book which by all rights he's too goddamned young to understand still less create. It's a very trenchant metaphor, He and She and the Deep Blue Sea separated, contained, bound, sustained, trapped, saved by a shared coffin. The consciousness of He and She is very much not shared, except the two are inextricable and still completely sealed off from yet bound to the experience of the other:
Touch being only touch, both of them imagining the warmth that would have been shared if their bodies had been bodies alive and still able to be repaired, they lay there like it had been a bed and not a coffin. The final end.
Not yet.
No.
Not yet, she fought the ghosts.
They reminded her. Tell him. Tell him.
She would tell him. Later.
"Later" arrived and left and returned once more. Still, she wouldn't tell him.
We mourn and grieve for Him and Her in their shared coffin, dead, living only in separate minds that are contained within a final resting place tossed on a restless expanse of endlessness.

Ghosts in the sea, all of us, whispering ghosts, the sea's physical voice a subsonic boom of waves crashing and moving the plates of the earth's crust a micron or two, and whispering "the end" to the living, "no end" to the dead, and "Hello Kitty" to the Japanese.

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