Blake Gladstone has lost Sarah, his girlfriend, to suicide and doesn't know if he should join her. Worse, he loses another, Denise [Fractal Despondency treats their relationship]. Homeless, jobless, but full of alcoholism and cigarettes, he slinks home to Santa Fe. Visions and memories of his old girlfriends return as he struggles with survivor guilt. He has to face his miseries and miserable thinking.
Blake gets a second (or third chance) with Laura, an old high school friend who's as lost, and messed up with alcohol ss he is. If he can save her, maybe he can save some of what he's lost.
Another reader compared these novellas to Charles Bukowski. I immediately disagreed until I reread it. Yes, they differ in humor and tone, but they share a concern for capturing the dark hole some have struggled to climb out of. The events are a bit discombobulated, mirroring the title and Blake's own mind.
Whether you should read this depends on where you stand on these two aesthetic matters:
- If you groove on the opening line:
- and if you agree with William Wordsworth's idea that art should be "emotion recollected in tranquility" [Preface to Lyrical Ballads William Wordsworth (1800)]. This is a direct feed from the raw, real emotion, written when similar events had just occurred to the author.
"A sad-voiced specter with piercing eyes flitted in the nightime as dewy air filled the malevolent room."
- "Her balance was that of an antique doll."