Thursday 27 May 2021



Synopsis/blurb ....

Roo Kickkick had been living in the town of Barguss less than two months before someone picked a fight with him and broke his face wide open.

The person who did this to him was ...

Raoul de los Dios, who had six fingers on his right hand. But Roo Kickkick wasn't the first person Raoul beat up. That person was ...

Thorpe Thorpe. He had an electric/acoustic band called Autistik/Artistik. The band had achieved a certain cult status locally and we knew that when ...

Florence Mink went to one of their shows. She was born to be a star and everybody knew it. Roo had a hard pining for Florence but her boyfriend was ...

Monroe Mister Promised To. He was the kid of the guy that practically owned all of Barguss (car washes and strip malls and ice cream stands) and he always looked bored. Then everything changed.

That's the day the blimp came. That's when this starts.

Hmm, I can't lie. I didn't enjoy this one bit. Time Out and The Guardian are effusive in their praise .... full marks, black humour, staying power, zany, intense, surreal

Me? I could share a few soundbites .... dire, uninteresting, boring, nearly every page was like swimming through treacle. Instead of humour, I'm sure I caught tumbleweed blowing through the book every chapter or so. Obviously humour is quite subjective anyway, but I kind of got a Tim Robbins vibe from the writing. And my one occasion reading him didn't go too well. 

The book is populated by eccentric small town characters. Things happen to some of them. Others bear witness to events. A filmmaker comes town, makes a movie about aforementioned events. Barguss is the centre of attention with the film and the death of the director. The film airs, sinks and Barguss goes back to obscurity. The characters pick up their lives.

I just couldn't get into it. The style of writing I found annoying. The characters, I couldn't relate to. The humour went over my head. Apart from that it was brilliant. I didn't like it, that doesn't mean to say others won't.

2 from 5

Ryan Gattis' latest book, The System, recently read knocked it out of the park. I'll read him again in the future.

Read - May, 2021

Published - 2004

Page count - 256

Source - purchased copy

Format - paperback 


  1. Ouch - sorry this one fell flat on you, Col. If I'm being honest, even before I read your thoughts on it, it didn't sound like one for me. The only thing I will say is that the tile is clever.

    1. Disappointing, Margot. Still that happens every so often.