Monday, December 06, 2010

Thoughts at the half way point of The Dead Beat

This book is almost cinematic in the way the scenes are so well described. You can so clearly picture the world of drug use and squalor that Adam and his three friends inhabit. even though you would walk, no run, to the other side of the street rather than get involved with these people James manages to pull you into their lives and struggle.

As the story develops you want Adam to kick the drug habit, which is so destructive, but as the other characters point out so frankly, what is the point life for these guys hardly looks attractive when played in real-time and horrible realism.

But accompanied with a controlled use of time and space there is some wicked writing here with some lines that stick in the head:

"Trying to decide what to do becomes a nightlong activity in itself, like some lousy postmodern joke."


A review to come on completion...

2 comments:

Dan Holloway said...

I think you've hit what made me fall in love with this book (aside, as you say, from the almost Spinal Tappish quotability of some of the lines) - the sheer humanity of the characters is breathtaking. We care about them. Deeply.
There's a wonderful line in an interview Cody did (http://eightcuts.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/cody-james-and-the-dead-beat/)
"Even though the person cooking the turkey has been up for three days and can’t remember how to work a stove, and your guests keep going to the bathroom to shoot up and then keep falling asleep in the mashed potatoes, you’re still there celebrating Thanksgiving."
I think that sums it up for me - this is life with all its warts - but all its humour as well, and that makes it so, so human. And humane.

bookrambler said...

I heartily agree with your nuanced review, Simon. James's writing compels you to watch the car crash even although you think you know how it's going to end.