Thursday, July 09, 2009

Book Review - Nitt-Witt Ridge by Crash Gordon

Nitt-Witt Ridge (A Big Sur Freak Fable)
Crash Gordon
Three Graces Press
212 pages

A book review (of sorts):

Recipe for a maniacal romp through a Dada-esque Wonderland.

1. One antagonist: A sadistic serial-killing black and chrome lizard-rooster (disguised as an evil mother-in-law or, as a tremendous robotic chicken [and the phallic implications here are legion]) - Check

2. Two unsung and unlikely heroes: Philo the flying wonder owl-boy and his dad, Harley, the absent, tree-habitating naturalist – Check

3. One ancient soul: The sage, unparagoned Captain Nitt-Witt himself, Art Beal - Check

4. A pinch of hallucinogenic wonderment: The smoke from an exploding hamster (inhaled voraciously) and the rare Ecuadorian bonsai papaya tree bud (ingest two only) - Double Check

5. Stir in a mixed bag of offbeat, avant-garde characters: Imagine the combined characters from Cannonball Run, the Island of Doctor Moreau, and the WWF Wrestling Federation and you begin to skim the top - Check

6. Crank up a full portion of mood music: Led Zeppelin IV (preferably on vinyl) - Check

7. Add 4 ozs. of absinthe and a few Carlsberg Elephant malts - Check

Mix them all together in the climax at the Helldorado parade in the dead of summer and…

Viola !!!

Nitt-Witt Ridge

Crash Gordon delivers this unprecedented and extraordinary Zen Koan-like novel with a voice as confident and alluring as the ancient Greek philosophers, but with much more humor. This is a solid offering from a first-time author who has the voice of a more mature writer. Featuring an unpredictable cast of characters this short but bittersweet psychedelic, semi-autobiography is considerably more grassroots and elemental than anything by Richard Brautigan and is hipper, tripier, and trendier than Jakucho Setouchi. Listen… the flaming “crotch-o-lantern” is not the craziest thing you’ll read in this book, nor are the exploding canines, or the befeathered chrome-metallic serial-killer. Did I mention that the story climaxes in a duel between our heroes and a psycho-killer using unlikely weapons like a Husqvarna 268 chainsaw and a carving knife?

On a more serious note I must say that you will discover the entire range of human emotions in this story.

Both the Yin and the Yang are represented here. There is a profound sense of loss and abandonment layered throughout (especially in chapters 22, 23 and the last two). There is angst and anger which is deep and believable but tempered by the promise of the good to come. There is also the tender beauty of earned redemption, found love, new hope and unexplored life. For all of these things and more I think you, yes you, should purchase a copy of Nitt-Witt Ridge today and devour it. In the process you’ll become – something more than you were!

Art Beal, wherever he may be, certainly met a kindred soul in Crash Gordon. I think he'd approve. I know I do!

5 out of 5 stars

The Alternative
Southeast, Wisconsin

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