Friday, April 2, 2010
Look out, people...
by Greg Ippolito
Ostensibly, this is a coming-of-age story about a Jersey kid growing up in 1991. John Saylor is sixteen, pissed-off, from a disaster of a family, and feels generally let down by the post-hippy adult world (whose “once-revolutionary spirit limped forward to settle on voluntary recycling, Volvo driving, and flaccid support for Walter Mondale”). He lethargically plods along — listening to loads of indie rock, smoking tons of pot — trying to avoid anything of meaning or consequence...until his modus operandi results in the drugging of his two-year-old brother, Billy.
Heartbroken, John goes on the lam — fleeing from his enraged stepfather as well as the cops — for three days and nights that coincide with the end of the Persian Gulf War. As we follow John from point to point, the many layers of his inner turmoil are subtly revealed. All the while, John’s internal war is punctuated by a kind of newsroom/typewriter backbeat that comes in the form of Desert Storm updates that come over radios and TVs. There are some wonderful characters here (especially Derrick, the older brother of John’s best friend, who may be the most hilarious and fascinating character I’ve read in years). And the ending just floored me; it lingered in my mind for days after.
Ippolito’s style harkens to Camus (spare and existential), with a hint of Hornby (the music references, mostly), and a healthy dose of Richard Yates (gut-wrenching honesty). Do NOT miss this one.
THE SKINNY: THE BEST NEW NOVEL OF 2010 (SO FAR)
P.S. Zero Station won’t be available until late this year, but you can request a free sample download by clicking here.