on May 17, 2010
Consuming and frightening and lingering. I read an advance copy a couple months ago and I still think about it like it's a transparent sheet laid down over my world. Brutal, funny, and scary. I laughed out loud at least a dozen times reading it, and winced a dozen more. For a crossroads comparison, I say Denis Johnson stomping Chuck Palahniuk into William Gibson while Kurt Vonnegut cheers him on. You have to read it.
on March 25, 2011
Three cheers for Peter Darbyshire.
The Vancouver based author has delivered a book that satisfies on three counts: it is deliciously AMORAL, thrillingly ANARCHIC and AESTHETICALLY sound. His central character is employed by a "neuromarketing company" that uses high tech methods to predict the next hot trend or product; employees are slid into a chamber and inundated with virtual images. The side effects can be dire, including realistic hallucinations that bedevil the protagonist long after working hours are over. He moves about in a detached reverie and it is in this state that he encounters a group bent on resisting the corporate name-branding of the world by staging various outrages and acts of vandalism. But then our hero inadvertently causes the group to change its tactics, becoming a terrorist organization with him as its poster boy and inspiration. The revolution, like all revolutions, is soon betrayed and it's yet another case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss". Disillusioned, still desperate for some kind of human contact in a world where consumerism and the cult of personality hold sway, our man enacts his own personal gotterdammerung, the conclusion of THE WARHOL GANG utterly unsentimental, the novel remaining true to itself to the bitter end.
It is unfortunate that the book has already drawn comparisons to the oeuvres of Chuck Palahniuk and Douglas Coupland, for that implies it is derivative--it is most certainly NOT. Mr. Darbyshire has presented us with an original and daring work, a novel of our time, set five minutes from now. Superbly conceived and crafted, THE WARHOL GANG is a savage and uncompromising vision of our acquisitive, superficial society and the dire effects it has on the minds and spirits of those who cannot escape its enticing clutches.
This book felt like I was witnessing an acid trip by reading about it. It was weird, really weird.
I read the reviews on the back of the book before reading the story and saw things like, 'satire', quoted. I didn't find any satire qualities in it at all. Unless my understanding of the term is wrong, but there was no comedic parts. Not satire or otherwise. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
It reminded me of that movie, Six Degrees of Separation, only odder and forever separated. It just never came together for me.
I like the gruesome nature of the story. I just wish the majority wasn't so strange.