Book: Piecemeal June
Author: Jordan Krall
Type of book: Fiction, novella, bizarro
Why I Consider This Book Odd: I hate to keep invoking the name of Eraserhead Press, but there you go. I also read a synopsis that led me to believe this was an utterly lunatic book. It didn’t even come close to describing the lunacy.
Availability: Published in 2008 by Bizarro Books, an imprint of Eraserhead Press, you can get a copy here:
Comments: Oh dear Lord. How do I even begin? Because I am a closet pervert, I ordered this book thinking it was going to be a bizarro pornographic romp. It isn’t, not really, even though the June of the title character is a sex doll come to life, created in the image of a porn actress, and the main character, Kevin, has sex with her. Despite that, this is high bizarro that leaves me conflicted. Too many descriptions of sweat and feet and more feet. But there is a cat. An awesome cat. So you can see my dilemma.
There are moments when you simply cannot give an adequate synopsis of a bizarro book, and this is one of those moments. So just let me throw out some sentences that sort of attempt to explain this book. There are crab people from what I think is another dimension and the unethical pornographers who do their bidding. There is also a crab king called Simon. He loves the real actress June is based on. He has sex with ears sometimes, or mashed together body parts of the people the crab men kill, squashed together into weird, perverse configurations. There is a guy named Kevin who lives over a porn shop. There is a cat called Mithra who delivers pieces of June until Kevin has a full sex doll, but also gives tarot readings and drops meaningful cards at the right intervals. There is a seer named Latrina whose back is a swirling sewer and who travels via toilets. There is a brain-damaged boxer. There is an ending that will make you wonder if you have, in fact, gone temporarily insane.
So with that out of the way, let me focus on the two elements of the book that remained with me after reading it: FEET OMG FEET and the awesome cat.
Kevin, the protagonist, has a penchant for feet. Now bear in mind, at one point a toilet explodes in this book, spreading filth far and wide. One character is pretty much a walking sewer. Poo does not bother me. Hell, I would go so far as to say that I find poop pretty funny. I’m not into scat but damn if scatological humor doesn’t make me laugh my ass off. Fart jokes? I’m your girl. And all the sweat the disassembled June emitted was unpleasant but I could cope. But feet? Sweaty feet? Smelly, sweaty feet? As my friend Arafat would say, “Jesus Allah Fuck!” I very nearly went fetal during parts of this book.
Take, for instance, this passage:
He put his nose to the toes and inhaled the stench. It was as if his brain became a television and he watched as a teenage Kevin knelt at the feet of his high school Spanish teacher. She was a statuesque older woman who forced him to first massage her feet while he sniffed them. Then she peeled a banana and fed it to Kevin using only her feet. He could still taste the fruit mixed with the pungent flavor of Ms. Booth’s soles.
Mithra meowed and brought Kevin’s attention back to the bedroom. His nose was still touching the top of the foot. There was something in between the toes. He stuck a finger in there, cleaning out the gunk. Bringing the finger to his nose, he smelt banana. Kevin was pleasantly shocked. The sex doll’s foot has banana-flavored toe jam.
Emphasis not my own and I very nearly cried typing that out.
But that wasn’t even the worst of it. My fellow fearers of feet, behold:
…. Regina, the manager, called him into her office…. Every day, without fail, she came dressed in a skirt, pantyhose… Regina babbled on with rhetoric and rhetorical questions while Kevin stole glances of her pantyhose and scuffed black slip-on dress shoes. He wondered if they were sweaty… Were the pantyhose freshly washed or was she wearing them for a while. Would her feet have an additional vinegar stench?… Regina lifted her left foot up and the shoe fell off of it. Kevin first saw the bottom of her foot, the pantyhose were linty and worn thin. Then the smell hit him.
God. Jesus, Jordan, what the hell?
I may be taking this too hard. I sold shoes to get through college. I had some… unpleasant days at work.
Okay. Moving on.
So even if feet scar you a bit, Mithra can help. Mithra rules. Mithra the Cat makes up for all the feet in this book and then some. He is the coolest fictional cat ever!