Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Amazing Jordan Krall

Jordan Krall's a cool dude. His writing is like a twisted Elmore Leonard (he even writes westerns and mystery pulp) and his humor is dark. I remember reading "Squid Pulp Blues" and loving it. In fact, it's one of a few that I've actually read four times. Then I got my hands on "Fistful of Feet", which is Jordan's homage to the spaghetti western. It's wonderful! I posted a review of it a few days ago.
Needless to say, I'm a fan! So, imagine my wonderment when I open up my amazon page and see a review on "Naked Metamorphosis" by the man, himself. WOW! Wherever you are, whatever you're're getting a big hug from me. Thanks, man!

Find it here:

Or read it here:
When I first heard about a Shakespearean bizarro book, I was like "Uggghhh..." because I just wasn't into that old English stuff. But I heard that it was crossed with Kafka but still, I wasn't really a huge fan of Shakespeare and so I was reluctant to check it out considering how little time I have to read new books.
But then I had the pleasure to attend a reading by the author at this year's Bizarro Convention. After that, I was sold. His performance was animated and funny, capturing the characters perfectly and I'm a guy who usually finds author readings a bit boring. So the fact that I enjoyed it says a lot about the his talent at storytelling.
First of all, the book is straight out hilarious. I'm sure I didn't get all of the in-jokes about Shakespeare but the ones I did get are funny and the dialogue is quick, witty, and clever. I'm not easily amused when it comes to comedy in a book but this one amused me a lot and I found myself shaking my head many times (in a good way).
Second, the writing is excellent. There was no awkwardness to the prose or bumps in the road that you see from many new authors. Despite this being the debut work of the author, you didn't get that feeling.
Third, the ideas presented are both bizarre and entertaining which is a hard thing to accomplish. There is actually a "twist" that I will not spoil but I found it to be an excellent close to the novella. It was something that crossed my mind during the middle of the book but the fact that it actually happened made me wonder if the author was reading my mind, haha! The Shakespeare thing is the obvious angle of the book but believe me, even if you hated reading it in school, don't let that turn you off. THIS is what Shakespeare should sound like. It's anachronistic, weird, funny, and fast moving.
I supposed my one criticism is the length. Though the whole plot is played out well, I think there are certain aspects that could've been expanded. I don't really want to mention them specifically (don't won't to spoil it) but if you read it you'll probably agree.
But let me put it this way. I would love to read five more books set in this "world"... it's that entertaining. It's a quick read, too, so those with tight schedules don't have to worry. I imagine that even if you didn't love it as much as I did, you wouldn't feel like you've wasted your time.
So basically, if you like both Shakespeare and Kafka, or you dislike Shakespeare but you like funny and weird stories, you should check this out. It would also make good stocking stuffers for fans of Shakespeare, Kafka, or weird/bizarro fans in general.

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