Saturday, March 16, 2013

John Dies at the End, by David Wong

John Dies at the End: A Novel, by David Wong

This is easily one of the stranger books I've ever read. Imagine an H.P. Lovecraft novel adapted to the screen by W.D. Richter, directed by Tarantino, and starring Bruce Campbell: that representation still doesn't reach the level of weirdness this book does. The plot follows two twenty-something friends that accidentally ingest a powerful drug that opens a door to another universe and forces them to fight off alien invaders. Along the way we are introduced to wig monsters, penis doorknobs, lamp-humping jellyfish, and a mysterious dog named Molly. A typical sentence reads, "I once saw a man's kidney grow tentacles, tear itself out of a ragged hole in his back and go slapping across my kitchen floor." And this occurs in the first 25 pages during a simple introduction; the happenings during the novel itself are much more bizarre. I found it to be both creepy and hilarious at the same time—I'm a sucker for deadpan delivery of lines like, "There is no possible combination of English words that would form a dumber plan than that."—but it does feel at times like it drags a bit and the story could be tightened up. John Dies at the End is outrageous enough that I suspect there are very few ambivalent reactions to it, but I for one loved it.

First Sentence:
Solving the following riddle will reveal the awful secret behind the universe, assuming you do not go utterly mad in the attempt.

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