Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mastodon Farm by Mike Kleine

Mastodon Farm is an experience.

It is about you. You are famous. Or at least you hang out with many famous people. You always listen to music when you drive your Ferrari. You like the band Vampire Weekend. You go places and do things and then go other places and do other things or the same things.

That's about it.

This book is simultaneously vague (there is no reason why you do these things, or even detailed descriptions of what you are doing) and specific (almost everything you do is linked to some pop culture material, a band, an actor, a clothing company, an author).

Each mention of one of these pop culture bits brings a flood of images and thoughts and feelings to mind, but then each one is hardly ever more then mentioned, each has no significance to it. This got me thinking that we falsely associate significance with pop culture material, when in reality these things tell us nothing about a person's (or a character's) identity. I don't know if that was Kleine's intention, but that's what I got out of it.

I also felt overwhelmed. The pure sensory experience of thinking of so many pop culture things made me exhausted, but in a strangely satisfying way.

Someone who blurbed the book said it was like watching twelve hours of TV on a Sunday. That seems apt to me--I was entertained, did nothing, then felt tired after doing it.

This is a smooth, lightning fast blaze through land of the absurd and one of the best bizarro books I've read.

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