Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review of 'Rontel' by Sam Pink

              Pink has killed it this time. I don't have to (shouldn't have to) tell you that Sam Pink is the verifiable man in every way. Rontel is like all the other Sam Pink books but better, smarter, funnier, more grown up, more juvenile, more emotionally unstable, more thought provoking.
I've read too many reviews already which begin by stating how Rontel is autobiographical or about Pink 's life. Ignore these fools. This is irrelevant. There is no plot. Or maybe there is  BUT THE PLOT SIMPLY ISN'T THE POINT. Pink goes to his girlfriend's and then to a bee keeping...whatever.
              It doesn't matter.
              What matters is what is going on inside Pink's fucked up head. His thoughts are ever present and comprise the majority of the narrative. Here's the real story right here. Pink is totally nuts in this genius and entertaining way. He writes perfectly those little tangents that we always go off on yet suppress when reading the back of a box of cereal or hear some wierdo on the street saying something incomprehensible. Pink takes these urges and runs with them, goes off into his own world, takes them to their logical and emotional ends. These ends are agonizing and painful and hilarious and ALWAYS BEAUTIFUL. It's almost unfortunate that Pink has to write these things on paper rather than inject them directly into our heads (though it may, at his best times, feel like he is doing this). His writing is so naive, so easy and flowing; so unaffected and bare and pure. He stays away from unnecessary words of all types and gets across exactly what he wants to say.
           I was struck by how Pink touches on beauty and love often in this book, maybe I missed it in his previous works but it pops up at least twice and it gives me hope for the world. Of course here, as in past books, the narrator interacts with the downtrodden, homeless and insane of Chicago's streets. He fits right in and at no point does he exploit, make fun, or act cruel. He just gets in there and speaks with the weirdos on their own terms and shows us this world that anyone with a right mind generally shies away from and abhors  And it is amazing.
          The pacing of the book is quick and always in the moment. There are very few references to any events that have occurred previously in the book or to events which will happen after and this gives the book a moving, running, urgent texture that is so satisfying and freeing. In fact everything about this book seems a bit more manic than his previous works. More charging and churning than brooding and contemplation.
              This book also feels more personal than the earlier ones, and this makes it hard to review. It almost feels like reviewing a friend of yours, which is simply impossible. This book is just too unique, too 'itself' for qualifiers to have much of an affect. Put simply: this book (and most of Pink's other stuff) will do that magical thing which few other books (or works of art in general) do, why ultimately art is made and what it's true goal is: Rontel will make you feel like there is some substance to the world, some soul or spirit that is outside you and vibrating and interacting with this will give you a brief glorious solace.
            Buy it

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