Thursday, April 29, 2010

Larry Marder's Beanworld (Book 1): Wahoolazuma!

Written by: Larry Marder

First line: What you hold in your hands is an artifact of my life.

Why you should read this book: I like to say that every story ever written can be read, figuratively, as a map of the writer's psyche, and that the best stories are maps of the collective unconscious, or everyone's psyche; Beanworld appears to be, very literally, a map of the author's psyche, and his psyche is, apparently, a very, very strange place. In this first compendium, he lays down the design illustrating Beanworld, its environs, and the various creatures who live in, under, above, and around it, along with their customs, recreations, idioms, and spirituality. Ultimately, this story seeks to answer questions such as, "Who am I?" "What makes me happy?" "Why am I the only one who doesn't understand the appeal of pop art?" and "Why am I the only one who worries about all the dangerous stuff in the world?"

Why you shouldn't read this book: Given that it's pretty unusual, paints a picture of a world nothing like our own with many details hidden from the reader as well as the character, employs idiosyncratic words and spelling, and looks like it was drawn by a stoned ninth-grader on the back of a failing history test, it can be a little hard to get into at first.

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