Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book Review: Perfect Union by Cody Frackin Goodfellow!

Perfect Union By Cody Goodfellow
Swallowdown Press
256 pages

Cody Goodfellow is one of three authors (Gina Ranalli and John Shirley) who have received their own Tag on my blog. The man is a diabolical genius that fills his fiction with equal parts genius, gore, humor and genuine terror. Best of all this dangerous soup also has highly literate prose and well developed characters. When I read Cody's first novel Radiant Dawn I believed I was looking at the future of horror fiction in the same way those early readers of Clive Barker's books of blood were.

Many of you horror fans have read his short stories as Cody has become a staple in the field for new anthologies quietly racking bizarre and strange catalog of shorts that Swallowdown released last year in a collection ( Hit the Cody tag at the bottom of this post you'll find it). Cody's first two novels were a single story and as great as they were Perfect Union was a real test for Goodfellow. While his short stories have a modern weird tales kinda thing going on could the ultimate bizarro off the hook Goodfellow short story go full length. The answer is yes!

Perfect Union is a weird masterpiece. Influences ranging from Cronenberg body horror, Evil Dead style gore comedy to a fascinating political dissection of Marx and Thoreau make this a genius horror novel destined to be mis understand by the the masses but loved by the readers ready to get in the ring with Cody. It's not for everyone, The sex scene between tweakers in the opening chapter is beyond gross and a signal to potential readers....can you hang? Cody Goodfellow can disturb, offend and amuse in a single sentence, he has done all three to me in a speech tag before.

PU is the story of Drew who recently married Laura and agreed to go on a road trip with her hysterically funny twin brothers to help move their mother out of her rural Nor Cal home. Laura didn't talk about her family for good reason, mom was a commune hopping hippie and abusive enough give all three of her kids serious issues.

Mother lives near Utopia - a town founded by hippies and home to a failed communist compound that was moved into a an old aslylum. A new commune has grown out of the house, which uses radical biological experiments involving bees, mind control and the ultimate communist hive mentality taken to an extreme.

Goodfellow's characters slowly lose control and as the novel amps up. This happens as the hive mentality takes control of the narrative. Once that happens the blood, guts, and fetuses fly. Goodfellow spins a mind bogglingly insane tale of body horror that manages to dip it's fingers in uncomfortable gore while invoking laughter and deep thought about issues of personal freedom. Who knew a book where a woman bites the heads of fetuses and throws them at people could also explore the failings of communism. An intelligent socio-political dark bizarro masterpiece and one of the most original horror novels in years.

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