I don't think I've ever read a book like The Bastard Hand by Heath Lowrance. It has all the attitude and boundary-pushing of classic pulp and a big shitload of weird to boot. In short, it has all the stuff I love to read. But having the correct ingredients does not necessarily a great cake make, mate. However, in this case it does.
The Bastard Hand is a very great cake indeed.
I won't jack around trying to summarise the plot (because you can get it via the link above - and buy it while you're there), all you need to know is that there is madness here. There is also degeneracy, betrayal, evil and trying to resist evil, religion, carnality and guns. It might just be me, but some of it didn't make 100% sense. But do you know what? Those bits are the best. A book doesn't need to make 100% sense, and in fact should try not to. That sliver of mystery, carefully marshalled, can turn a functional page-turner into something you obsess over while reading. The other thing The Bastard Hand contains a lot of is alcohol. I love books with drunkenness in them, and Lowrance does that well. Anyone would think he has been drunk before.
Knocking around books and publishing for a few years, you start to get a feel for what publishers want (ie, what they think readers will buy). Most of the time, this kind of book is not it. The original, the don't-give-a-fuck, the beautifully crafted and in places visionary - it all gets cast aside in favour of the bland shite that fills our bookshops these days. But, Jesus Christ, do we ever need this. We need a whole fucking movement of this kind of stuff, Heath Lowrance pushed up to the vanguard and roaring on the troops. (OK with you, Heath?)
Friday, November 18, 2011
Posted by Charlie Williams at Friday, November 18, 2011