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Thursday, March 3, 2011

LBT's Generic Book Corner: Scorch Atlas

"Little Bobby Tables," you might be exclaiming to yourselves right about now, "it has been so long! Where have you been? We assumed you had been crushed by a pile of old newspapers in your apartment!" You would be justified in that exclamation, too, as I have been a terrible Virgil to you all, my young Dantes. And no one feels more mildly distraught or hungry about this than I. No one.

I have realized, just now, that I seem to have an affinity for post-apocalyptic tales. As I want this to be a segue rather than a non sequitur, the book I bring to your attention is another in my recommendations of dust and woe. Scorch Atlas , by Blake Butler, is an interesting concept, and I do give points for creativity. I found it in my local library whilst searching (in vain, I tell you) for a particular book, propped up in the New Releases section. Friends, I almost hate to say it, but I judged it by its cover, and was intrigued (digression: that adage makes no sense. How much money and time, and education and talent goes into book cover design? The entire point is to woo you to their wordy goodness through whatever message it conveys, be it handsy apples or hobbitses or anything in between), so I gave it a whirl.

I am a fan of short stories, as is perhaps apparent, and as mentioned above, I am a fan of apocalyptic stories. However, my first reaction to this book was "How very odd." It is beautiful, and bleak, and perhaps a bit surreal, and it is as dependent on various visuals as it is its words (I would not really recommend this for kindle, as I have no idea if that aspect would come through).

One telling thing by my reckoning is that I read this book well over a year ago, and it has grown in my imagination since then. Have you ever had that happen, reading or seeing or hearing something you put aside without thought, to find later that it is under your skin?

At any rate, I recommend you pick this up on a rainy, chilly, dreary day. I do hope you enjoy.

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