Thursday, July 13, 2006

Good, Annoying, Confusing

Well, I just finished Reading Tristan Egolf's Kornwolf: A Novel. I thought it was a very good book, though parts of it were annoying, and the ending was very confusing.

I won't hold the fact that it annoyed me against the book, because what annoyed me probably wouldn't annoy most people. It's a matter of names. Throughout the book, Pennsylvania is referred to as Pennsyltucky, which is a name that generally implies that everyone in the state--outside of Philadelphia--is a bunch of dumb-ass, redneck hillbillies. Sure, I'm not under any illusions that much of the population in my states more rural areas, and smaller towns and cities, is a bunch of dumb-ass, redneck hillbillies--I just have to read the letters column in any local paper to know that--but I'd prefer it if a writer didn't use a slang term as if it were the proper name. I also don't like the way he presented the town names. He used the proper names of the embarrassingly named towns of Blue Ball, Intercourse, and Bird-In-Hand. He misspelled others with more ordinary names as Yorc (York, obviously), Rudding (Reading), Alleytown (Allentown), Horaceburg (Harrisburg), and Philth Town (I'm guessing Philadelphia).

Spoiler Warning: Some of the next paragraph may be considered a spoiler!

Besides that, this is a great story. Owen, an out of work reporter, shows up in rural "Pennsyltucky" to learn boxing and is hired onto the local paper. Soon he gets his hands on the picture of a vaguely Richard Nixon-like monstrosity called the Blue Ball Devil or the Kornwolf. The Kornwolf is an Amish boy named Ephraim. On the nights surrounding the new and full moons, and occasionally at other times, he turns into a werewolf and goes on a rampage. It turns out that Owen's boxing coach, Jack, was the original Kornwolf and was Ephraim's father and also his uncle (remember what I said about hillbillies). In the end, Ephraim goes on a brutal rampage and kills the abusive man who raised him, and several other people. In the end, he is rescued by Jack and whisked away to parts unknown.

The only thing I didn't like was the ending. It left too much unresolved. There is mention made of a mysterious deal between Jack and Owen, but we're never given any details. We're never told what Jack did in Vietnam, though we're definitely intended to want to know. We don't know how Jack overcame his lycanthropy or how he plans to help Ephraim. We're also left wondering what the deal was with Jack's, probably Native American Friend, Scarlet. She is supposedly waiting for Jack in Indiana, which leads me to guess that she's supposed to be a shaman, or something, with werewolf healing abilities. That seems a bit cliched for this book, though.

Despite the ending, I thought this book was great. I give it 4.5 yo-yos.


Nun said...

"Here's one for a book called Weird Wide Web. This one is actually fairly intriguing, and I'd almost like to buy it just to find out if it's any good. If it was written this way on purpose, it may be very funny, or it may be the deranged ramblings of a lunatic:”
Could be both, yoyogod, could be both.
“As you probably know, Lulu allows anyone to publish a book for free. This means that they publish some of the most godawful crap imaginable.” But commercial publishers publish amazing crap too.Have you ever tried to read the Da Vinci code?
As I write in weird wide web
Why I love Lulu
“ Today no great works could be published in the normal way. No works of mad imagination. Today it is all about marketing, hitting the market. Books are written to a formula.
Jonathan Swift in front of a publisher today.
" So Mr. Swift, your book is aimed at? Sez here you are a vicar! You have a story about Lilliputians and a man who falls asleep. Where's the sex and violence? Gulliver. What kind of name is that? And he meets things called Yahoos. No-body would ever call anything Yahoo. Make him called Brute. So he wakes up, gets a laser and kills all the little folk. With his arm round a girl! Look great on the posters.
Mr. Carrol. Another vicar! You reverends! I suppose you get the time to write this stuff cos you only work Sundays. Well we've got another book about someone who falls asleep. This time it’s a little girl and she finishes up in a rabbit hole. Whose it aimed at? Rabbits? Hate to tell you Louis, rabbits have zero income. No market baby. Next
Mr Milne. Not a vicar are you?
Now your book. Winnie the Pooh. What kind of name is that? Think sanitary man. Do we want a product that is associated with kaka? And look at this. Piglet? Eeyore?. Whose gonna play them in the film? And no love interest.
And another guy has a story about a toad that drives a car and has a friend who’s a rat? Wind up the willows?
And a woman trying to sell a story about a talking hedgehog! Tiggywinkle? And more rabbits!
And another one, can’t market a book under the name Black Beauty! And the main character is a horse! The autobiography of a horse! World full of kooks!
There a guy here trying to sell a story about a family called Darlings and the parents go out to a party leaving the kids in the charge of a dog called Nana. But it ain’t about child neglect, the kids all fly off and meet some guy called Peter Pan and there's pirates and stuff, what has this guy been smoking?

Exaggeration? About twelve publishers turned down the Harry Potter series before one took a chance.”
So have a look at www=weird wide web

Arthur Brownwindsor said...

I am not a nun. You asked for a password and I wrote nun cos I have not got one. I am a bad speler.
So I will right my write name.