Monday, June 18, 2012

'The Brandy of the Damned'

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.

1 comment:

Andrew Crawshaw said...

I have just bought the kindle version of this. looking forward to getting stuck in. I read the first part of it when it downloaded; a few of my friends and I got into a discussion about how long the coast of britian is, which in fact can't be accuratly quantified because of its fractal nature. but it ended up being about 19,000 miles, which is 5,000 miles shorter than the circumference of earth at the equator. I found that quite interesting.