Sunday, November 27, 2016
1968 Pelham Blue SG Jr, by Mark Haskell Smith
I tried to resist this story. I really did. This led to a loud argument in my head.
-It's not a crime story.
-Of course it is.
-It's not a conventional crime story.
-But it's weird.
Quality won out.
Here's what makes it makes it weird: When was the last time you read a story written in first person plural?
You may say "A Rose for Emily," the masterpiece written by William Faulkner. But that story essentially has a standard third person omniscient narrator with just occasional uses of "We" to remind you that this is the community's viewpoint.
In Mark Haskell Smith's story, on the other hand, "We" is very much the main character. They are (It is?) an over-the-hill rock band, so meshed together that they speak as a unit. It's a shock when one of the members thinks about quitting and suddenly shifts from "one of us" to "he."
After a gig the band's equipment (including the titular guitar) is stolen but "we couldn't call the police because one of us was supposed to be home with an ankle monitor strapped to our leg."
So they go off in search of it. But single-minded they ain't. When the hunt takes them to a donut shop the rings of fat and sugar so mesmerize them they forget what they came for. "We are not detectives," they explain, primly.
No, but they are hilarious.