Thursday, April 23, 2009

Book Review: Frank's World by George Mangels

Frank's World

FRANK'S WORLD by George Mangels - Vomit-of-Consciousness Horror - Book Cover
George Mangels

Frank's World is quite a bizarre little read. A run-of-the-mill review won't even begin to do it justice, so what follows is a review/diatribe written in emulation of Mangels' own, unique, narrative style.
Frank is the worst kind of person, a slug, a psychic thug, a pirate, a low-rent gangster in a well-worn suit--a suit of greasy, folded, flapping flesh that drapes over cold bones like the Grim Reaper's silken robes of death. He doesn't MOVE through our world so much as he SLIDES through it, a psychotic iceberg with evil sentience and foul, broken teeth. It's not even our world anymore, not really. It's Frank's World now. It stopped being ours as soon as HE came into it, a slippery and partially formed mess of human DNA clawing his way out through his mother's birth canal, her womb now so TOXIC from his extended stay that she will never be able to conceive another child, not that she would want another child, not after seeing the way that Baby Frank looked at her with his beady black eyes, sending mental Ginsu blades even at such an early age. It was frightening, it was disturbing, it was OBSCENE, really, and that right there would be enough to ruin one's day if not one's life. You see, that's Frank's natural--or perhaps SUPER-natural--ability: to ruin your life simply by being in his presence. His sleazy aura, the color of moldy Twinkies and stuff better left wrapped up in a tissue and tossed in the trash, has a way of creeping inside you, through your eyes or ears or nose of maybe just absorbed through the pores like osmosis, and once there, once it's inside you, it TAINTS you, starts to eat away at your soul, dissolves your mind into a puddle of mush, claws at your heart and dry-humps your cockles, performs a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick on your conscience, and consumes your future like it was a soccer team trapped in the Andes. This ability, as far as abilities go, isn't exactly one that can be used for good, which is why no one will confess to giving it--not God, not Buddha, not Allah, not Mohammad, not Zeus or Odin or Mars or Athena, not Billy Graham or the Pope or Tammy Faye Baker, not even the Devil himself, which suits Frank just fine. He's perfectly content being a self-made madman, a genetic and spiritual anomaly that no one can or no one will lay claim to.

Yes, this is Frank's World now, and we're all just living in it, trying our best to simply stay out of his way and not let him get too close lest he digest our good nature and shit it out like he has done to so many people over the course of his vile, disgusting life and all of his vile, disgusting lives that have come before.

The character of Frank is lifted, borrowed, stolen, pillaged, escaped from, David Lynch's BLUE VELVET, a meta-fictional refugee from a fictional film into the real world--Frank's World--and the author makes no qualms about telling us so, just like he makes no qualms about telling us that our existence is fucked and quite likely to end at the drop of a hat, perhaps a top hat or a bowler or a beret or even a baseball cap with the Angels insignia on it, which would be ironic seeing as how there are no angels here, just demons and devils and the possessed as far as the eye can see--maybe a mile on a good day, not taking into account toxic smog and astigmatism, of course. But don't hold this minor theft against the author, he's not the first to do so after all, William S. Burroughs, the late great 'El Hombre Invisible' did it all the time, take Salt Chunk Mary, for example, she herself a refugee from someone else's work and maybe in time she will sidestep her new world--WILLIAM'S WORLD--for yet another world, hell, maybe even Frank's World, maybe they're bedding down right now for a long night of GRUDGE FUCKING (a man like Frank doesn't know the meaning of making love), and if that wouldn't be fitting, I don't know what would be, because Burroughs has got to be as big an influence on this book as David Lynch and LSD and peyote and mescaline and Babes in Toyland and the worst nightmares of the Collective Unconscious and the Atom Bomb and the Hydrogen Bomb and the Nuclear Bomb and Dirty Bombs and Black Cat Firecrackers and anything that goes BAM! BANG! or BUMP! in the night.

What George Mangels has managed to do here is release a torrid stream-of-consciousness text--hell, the RED-SEA of consciousness--but not HIS consciousness, no, that would be too easy, any monkey with a typewriter and an ounce of luck could do that, but a fictional character's consciousness, and it doesn't so much as FLOW across the page as it does EXPLODE upon the page, seemingly from the deepest recesses of this character's soul--it's VOMIT-OF-CONSCIOUSNESS, littered liberally with pop culture references and terrible, terrible visions of talking trees and lizard people and sticks of butter that may or may not feel pain. It's a trip like you've never had before, and if Mangels doesn't get off of his couch--a second hand thing with mysterious stains and a musky aroma that emanates in invisible clouds anytime the fibers are disturbed and a trail-mix medley of human hair, belly button lint, Cheetos, unpopped popcorn kernels, and pocket change hidden beneath the sagging cushions--then it's quite likely that you'll never find a ride quite like it again. I've read it dozens of times, each time driven a little more mad, a little more loony, a little more loopy, a little more schitzo, a little more crazy, a little more FUCKING INSANE, but now my eyes are open wide as saucers and can see the shadows lingering everywhere, creeping in, ready to consume, and it's my mission to preach this greasy gospel, this unholy book, to the world at large. Why? WHY? Because you need to know what's out there, what's lurking, what's waiting, what's liable to pounce upon you at any given moment. You may think that you're safe at home, in your own little world, but you're wrong.

This isn't your world at all.

This is Frank's World.

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