12.6.09

David Lapham

OK. Just read the first Young Liars trade. Oh my Gad! This is like the Hold Steady with the religion taken away and an extra heavy dose of fucked-up madness. Noir as all hell -- incest, rape, suicide, anorexia, psychopathic midgets, and a distant crazy billionaire wasted on shrooms. It makes you so sick of humanity you actually want to throw up. Or put a gun to your head.

And then something marvelous happens. This bunch of young liars, the most disgusting individuals you're ever likely to meet, win your sympathy. Lapham slowly peels away the lies until you understand. Our hero fucks up bad. But in the end we see that he has tried to play as straight as he could, attempting to redeem his past mistakes. And he has a dream, in love with the most dangerous, out-of-control femme fatale out there.

This is noir of the most heady and twisted sort, thumping with a frantic rock 'n' roll rhythm. I was surprised, as the only other Lapham work I had read was Silverfish, with was rather more subdued. It's great in its own way, for sure, particularly in the way it transforms the Ghost World vibe of the small town into something quite chilling. David Lynch would have been proud. But the 'fish in someone's brain' idea was a bit opaque. I'm not sure what Lapham wanted this to signify, if anything. Maybe he just thought it was cool.

But this guy is brilliant, a true-blue original. Time for me to hunt down his Stray Bullets...

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