The Brandy of the Damned, JMR Higgs' new novel, is a short, breezy read with plenty of humor, easy to start and easy to finish. Yet it manages to pack quite a bit of interest into the narrative.
The three main characters in Brandy are former members of a rock band who have reunited, not to play together but to take a quixotic journey along the shores of England in the band's old former touring van. The prose is straightforward enough, but the reader who thought he was standing on a solid floor often finds instead that he's feet are planted on a rug, and Higgs is tugging on it. Why does the bass player carry a shovel with her everywhere she goes? What about those jokey scriptures the drummer keeps finding in blue bottles along the shore?
I thought I detected quite a bit of Robert Anton Wilson's influence. Perhaps because of my immersion in RAW, I am seeing a few things that aren't there.
On the other hand, a review of the book by C.J. Stone, part of the group of authors at The Big Hand whom I wrote about a couple of days ago,includes this sentence, "It is a fictional representation of Robert Anton Wilson's model agnosticism but without the drugs." I note also that there is an offstage character named "Celine."
Stone's review includes an excerpt from one of the scriptures mentioned above, which suggests that it's best for a person to have three religions. One religion suggests narrow-mindedness, while a dozen suggests you'll fall for anything. It doesn't have to be exactly three; "between two and five, something like that."
I chuckled, then realized that perhaps I have followed the strategy. I list myself as a Buddhist agnostic on my Facebook page. That's two, isn't it? And I was confirmed as a teenager as a Unitarian Universalist in a church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That's a denomination formed as a merger of two groups, the Unitarians and the Universalists. So depending on how you keep score, I guess have three or four religions.