Before I begin a post of unabashed enthusiasm on Christopher Meades' weirdly wonderful new novel The Last Hiccup, a note of caution:
Through careful research and self-imposed paranoid fear-mongering, I have determined that Chris, having never met him physically, is undoubtedly one of the following:
- my doppelganger;
- my long-lost twin, the one I thought I devoured in utero;
- a pod person bent on destroying me.
Why this belief, Corey, oh master of hyperbole? Take a look, and you tell me I'm freaking out over nothing:
All together now;
Meet Corey, who's done most everything,
From practice law to plane jumping.
But Chris has only stayed the course,
He's never even seen a horse.
What a crazy pair!
'Cuz they're authors,
Identical authors and you'll find,
They dress alike, they walk alike,
At times they even write alike:
You can lose your mind,
When authors are two of a kind.
Spooky, no? Maybe it's a coincidence, but I'm afraid to go to sleep at night. Should we meet I have no doubt the universe will cease to exist, or at least suffer a splitting headache.
On the plus side, should I ever die, we have a spare.
If the novel were simply that, twenty-plus years of hiccuping, I think I'd have tired of it. Meades, however, takes the Kurt Vonnegut route of torturing the protagonist, placing his hero in early 20th century Russia and submitting him to horrendous ordeal after horrendous ordeal. In short order, Vladimir, a strangely self-possessed little boy, is abandoned by his mother, experimented on by a mad doctor, and sent to live in the mountains with a strange and silent monk. And I haven't even begun to factor World War I into Meades' melange.
I do love a story that never takes me where I expect, and Hiccup certainly fills that bill. It's also extremely clever, dark, surreal, and unexpectedly poignant. I certainly hope Chris continues to push himself into the unexpected, for I sense there are fathoms of fantastic weirdness in him just aching to be discovered.
[NOTE] Should there ever be interest in mine and Chris' life story, perhaps as a Patty Duke-like family comedy with hijinks galore, I hereby submit the following unknown Canadian actor for consideration:
'Cuz they're triplets!
Identical triplets, and you'll find,
They act alike, they brood alike,
Sometimes they're even subdued alike...