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Friday, February 12, 2016

WTF Friday: Raping the Gods by Brian Whitney

Every once in a while, as the mood strikes me, I like to indulge in those titles that are a bit odd . . . a bit different . . . a bit bizarre . . . and a bit freaky. These are books that don't always get a lot of press, and which rarely benefit from any prominent retail shelf space.



They're often an underground of sort of literature, best shared through guilty whispers, and often with embarrassed grins. These are our WTF Friday reads!

Do you like plain vanilla sex, sobriety, and a sense of normalcy? Then this book isn't for you.
Raping the Gods comes billed as a bizarre black comedy, as told through a drug-addled stream-of-consciousness narrative. It's a book I normally wouldn't have picked up - even David Cronenberg couldn't save Naked Lunch for me, and Natural Born Killers is one of the few movies I've ever walked out of - but Brian Whitney and I had chatted about another book a couple of years ago, and I was intrigued by the concept.

Yes, it's a really weird read. Yes, the narrative tried my patience on a regular basis. Yes, there's a lot of illicit substances involved. And, yes, it often makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. What separated it from those art-trash films, however, was its sense of humor. Whitney isn't out to make some grand artistic statement here. He knows how bat-shit crazy his story is, and he's damned well going to have fun with it. The entire thing is like an inside joke, where so long as you buy into the self-aware, self-depreciating humor, you're going to feel compelled to keep reading.

There were a number of passages that made me shake my head, some that made me question what the hell I was reading, and many more that had me laughing out loud. Brian as author/narrator conveys the perfect tone of desperation to make it all work, and Dylan has just the right amount of dark undercurrents to him to make his insanity compelling. The whole negotiation between them to start the book is uproariously funny, with Dylan's rambling, incoherent, nonsense missives so full of arrogance and self-importance that they're almost painful.

At the same time, Brian's pitiful life, washed up, drunk, broke, and relying on aging porn stars to pay the bills, couldn't scream tortured writer any louder if he danced naked through the desert with fireworks exploding from between his legs. That's one of the few things that doesn't happen in the book.

Somehow, despite all the insanity, Whitney manages to keep the adrenaline level high throughout, never faltering under the weight of his own expectations. It's dark and a it's violent; it's kinky and it's perverse; and it's so asinine in parts that it approaches genius. I really wondered where it was going, and wasn't sure I ever wanted to see Brian Raping the Gods, but their final scene atop the cliff was absolutely perfect in its simplicity, and the final throw-away line about the leash at the airport just tied everything together.


Kindle Edition, 135 pages
Published March 2nd 2015 by Strawberry Books

2 comments:

  1. Sounds bizarre but interesting all the same. Great review.

    Majanka @ I Heart Reading

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  2. "Do you like plain vanilla sex, sobriety, and a sense of normalcy? Then this book isn't for you." - Made me laugh. It sounds better than I expected from the title.

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