Genre: Short Stories, Short Story Novella
Here is another CCLap book, a story collection that will be added to the family of the CCLap books. Lately, either I’m reading too much or I’m reading too many books that fall into the same genre. I feel like everything is kind of stale. I enjoyed this book but not as much as I would.
What I do like about the book is the subject matter. It’s about rock music, and I usually love that type of stuff. I never really read too many books where rock bands are constantly referenced along with concerts and the passion of music. The only books I’ve read that contain the rock or metal music love are Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, the main character is a former rock musician and a YA novel called Beautiful City of the Dead by Leander Watts. I loved both of those books.
Most of the stories contain the typical rock star image, the booze, drugs, sex, the loud music, the rebellious attitude. To the point where I wondered if Flores was trying to make fun of the lifestyle or he was trying to send a message and say “Hey, this stuff can do bad things.” Sometimes the punk rock attitude was portrayed in such a way that it was almost a parody. The rock star life tends to be too romanticized while Flores seems to make it as gritty, sweaty, dirty, and dark as possible. The rock star life is portrayed as a bumpy, troubled road, most of the time everything successful falls apart. The lifestyle tends to bring down the art of composing music. Too much drugs and booze kills people and sometimes even music. So I do like Flores’ portrayal, it’s not cookies and milk, it’s chainsaws and nails…. By the way, Lots of musicians and artists are referenced in this book. You either know them or don’t, unless some of them are made up but I doubt it. I also believe there is a small dash of magical realism?
Art is a journey, that’s what I feel like this book is about, art can change your life forever. It can heal you or break you, depending how you handle it. I liked the theme, the idea, it was touching and thought provoking. The passion of music, speaking out against corrupt and unjust politicians, isolation, being misunderstood, life sucks and then you die. That’s really a song, the guy screams “Life sucks and then you die,” it’s a song by one of those crazy death metal bands called Skinless. My brother used to like that band. Seriously though, it’s true. Death isn’t the main thing though, but the short story “The Swear Junction”, is about a rock musician’s experience with dying. I think that one is my favorite because it was so surreal it was nicely written.
The writing style is very simple and straight to the point, yet detailed, but not overwhelming. However, something is missing, I don’t know what it is. The pacing and everything is good, like a movie, but sometimes I wasn’t in love with the story. However, I had just finished reading a short story collection, Last Evenings on Earth by Roberto Bolaño, this story cycle reminded me of that story collection.The obsession with art (music, literature, etc,) the unpredictable obstacles of life and fate. Life is unforgivable and sometimes cruel.