Meet Conrad Navarro, a contender in an underground type of fight club, called The Pageant. Conrad has a sister named Imogene who is missing. And so begins this crazy, beautifully written, weird story.
I've been mulling over what to say about this book. It was so good I want to do it justice, while at the same time I don't want to look like an idiot. Let me start with the quality, beauty, darkness and denseness of the prose. I submit this quote for your perusal:
"The room throbbed with bloodless light, the ashen flush of a landscape under the caul of an eclipse. The amniotic light sluiced against cheap blinds, dripped and seeped through chinks and seams, patterned great, ominous shadows against the clapboard walls."
A dense description surely...one that must be read slowly and savored.
How about this one:"The city lifted itself from the flat-backed plains as a colony of blue-bottle glass and aerodynamic steel." Can you picture it? I can.
Let's move on to the story. The pacing was excellent. We follow our protagonist Conrad on the search for his sister, Imogene. A search that leads him to both dark people and places. We find out things about Conrad that even he didn't know. We are not "told" these things, we are taken along on the voyage of Conrad's discovery. It's written so that it's like a continuous progression, hurtling on to the very end.
The last half and the final chapters are where this book really spreads its wings. I could name some famous authors whose work is like this (Lovecraft for sure), but in the end, this work is Mr. Barron's and Mr. Barron's alone. There are several things mentioned that I just NEED to know more about. The Imago sequence is one of them. This quote also piqued my interest:
"Whatever plucked the strings existed partially upon another plane and across an improbable gulf; an entity that radiated malignant hunger and rage of scarcely conceivable scale."
Now tell me, who could read that quote without hungering for more? Certainly not me. I will be tracking down and reading more of Mr. Barron's work shortly. What about you?