Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson (5 out of 5) 

In North Dakota, a man driving off steam from an argument with his girlfriend drives into the North Dakota desert and sees something he cannot believe. There, rising up from the majestic mountainside, are the Twin Towers. The very same Twin Towers that were destroyed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. How is this even possible? Before long, thousands are lined up behind Aaron, the man in the truck and the first person to see the Towers. Everyone near the area of this odd happening hears music in their head…Music that doesn’t seem to stop. Meanwhile, a sheriff heads into the Towers to see what is going on, never to reappear with news. A brother and sister drive cross country, with a soundtrack playing that their Dad made eons ago. On the 93rd floor of the Tower, Jesse Garon Presley, stillborn twin of “The King”Elvis Presley, wakes up, unaware of why he is there, but unable to sing and plenty resentful of the shadow his long-drawn brother has cast on his life. His presence and all of the central characters are integral to this work of alternative history. Throw in some historical figures of significance (John F. Kennedy, RFK, and John Lennon, among others), and some introspection to an nth degree of all sorts of songs, and you truly have a mind-bending narrative. The format for this book is unlike anything I have read yet. Singular, two at most, pages of prose writing per chapter. It most definitely will warrant a second, third, and possibly fourth reading down the road to try to grasp any of the wayward hay that Erickson has thrown into the barn of this whopper. I have never read a thing by Erickson before, but I have to now! Holy cow. I didn’t know what the hell was going on through most of it, but it truly doesn’t matter.. you’re hooked! And not strange at all once you get trucking with it. And it’s instantaneous. The premise is so out there that you are pulled into it immediately. Then you wade through the characters and their memories and vagaries on what is going on at present. Then the world…In 2021…Of music as we have known it- is turned upside down when you realize what would have come to be without Elvis AND The Beatles. No Elvis? No Beatles? Sit quietly and contemplate that for a moment. And you keep reading. The pop culture references are multiple and the flip flop time machine that is the narrative really makes you scratch your head and wonder where the fuck this is going. Or if it’s going anywhere. Is it some sort of strange acid trip? One of Can’s long lost concept albums? Was Roger Waters playing golf with Jim Morrison in New Mexico? There’s no telling with Erickson! There’s a lot of Don DeLilloesque framework going on beneath the surface here, so if you like DeLillo, chances are you need to give Erickson a fair shake. Totally worth the time. This is out now, courtesy of the folks at Blue Rider Press. Thanks to my publisher homie Stefan for sending this to me. I am most appreciative of the gigantic mind trip this has had me on for the past 2 days. You, dear reader, need to take that same mind trip. 

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~ by generationgbooks on February 16, 2017.

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