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The Good Times Are Killing Me

I'm a nerdy girl with too much time on her hands, and too many books on her to-read pile.

Currently reading

Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm
Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob Grimm, Lucy Crane, Walter Crane
Natasha Wimmer, Roberto Bolaño

Last Days

Last Days - Brian Evenson, Peter Straub Brian Evenson is an evil man. “Las Days” is the first book I’ve read that makes me feel dirty for liking it (and not *sexy* dirty, but like I had eaten something from the trash), and yet I can’t help but feel that this is a remarkable piece of fiction. I hate you Mr. Evenson. Where were you when I had to explain to my mother what this book was about without making her think about all the things she had done wrong regarding my moral education? And how could you blame her? I mean, really, how sick do you have to be to enjoy a story as twisted and disturbing as the one narrated in “Last Days? And how do you tell a loved one that your current source of entertainment involves a smart mockery of religious hierarchy that makes you want to read it and bleach your brain at the same time? That was a distinct feeling I got while reading “Last Days”: a growing sense of disgust mixed with the knowledge that I couldn’t stop reading, not even if I wanted to. In case you’re still curious, the book begins with the ineffective attempts of a private detective to survive a case of severe depression, generated by a rather unfortunate confrontation with a “gentlemen with the cleaver” that led to the chopping of his right hand. In the middle of this personal crisis he’s approached by two… hum… “Peculiar” men, who seem to believe that the detective’s misfortune makes him uniquely qualified to take care of a mystery their brotherhood is facing. The personal characteristics of these two individuals, added to the nature of the group they belong to and the hesitation of our protagonist to get involved with them, make for a very compelling read that also presents a strong comment on the evils that religious fundamentalism can unleash on the world. A part of me wants to talk long and deep about the many, many factors that made “Last Days” so disturbing for me, but I don’t want to rob anyone of the chance of discovering them for themselves. There is a lot to feel uncomfortable about in this novel (I’ll never think about the idea of a strip-tease in the same way again) and I think that it has a lot to do with our sense of self-preservation, and our refusal to even consider other lifestyles that would willingly harm it. What made it all worse for me, however, was realizing that groups such as the ones depicted here could actually exist; there are already so many people willing to take their faith to new and crazy heights by means of interpreting religious texts in rigorous ways that, well, the possibility of a real “brotherhood of mutilation” doesn’t require such a stretch of imagination, and that's a pretty scary thought.In conclusion, I don’t regret reading “Last Days” at all, even if now I’m forced to wash down the unpleasant images it left on my mind with tons of fluffy romances and happy endings. Brain Evenson has won a fan and I plan to read more of his books in the future, with a good dose of pretty unicorns and kitties on the side.