- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Etruscan Press (Oct. 10 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780997745528
- ISBN-13: 978-0997745528
- ASIN: 0997745525
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 318 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #994,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Mr. Either/Or Paperback – Oct 20 2017
Customers who bought this item also bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Mr Either/Or is like nothing else you will have read. You have to imagine Raymond Chandler, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. P. Lovecraft, the script-writers of The Sopranos, Robert Browning and the author of Beowulf all being miraculously melded into one supremely talented writer, with a gift for rhyme, for metrical verse and for extravagant but spot-on metaphors. The story is entertaining, fast-moving and delightfully over-the-top. We move from mysterious Eastern legends of “The Dragon’s Claw” (shades of Modesty Blaise?) to espionage-fiction with shades of gritty hardboiled, and finally to an imaginative parody of apocalyptic science-fiction. It all takes place in contemporary New York, which is described with a loving but acutely sardonic eye, from the gingko trees of Washington Square to Trump’s Palace poking “its crenellated top / over boutiques and consulates,” from the “slick / avenues of primordial goo” of the sewer system (complete with army of subterranean “troglodytes with dirt/ for skin, sporadic teeth and vermin eyes”), to the halls and galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, all culminating in a surreal grand finale with lizard-like invaders assaulting the mast on the roof of the New York Times Building. Poochigian alternates action-scenes in superbly handled alliterative verse in Anglo-Saxon style (scenes of gang-warfare, of fights with aliens, chases through the subway, through the galleries of the Met and across Manhattan by car) with deft narrative and dialogue in rhyming iambic pentameter. There is no other voice quite like this in contemporary fiction or contemporary poetry: ranging from coolly colloquial to wittily literate and, when called-for, straightforwardly thrilling. Poochigian is enjoying himself. Read this book and you will enjoy yourself too. That’s a guarantee. –Gregory Dowling, Ascension
Welcome to Apollo's Dinerette, where high and low alliterate and rhyme. Think of a Gen X Ovid channeling Dashiell Hammett in a hard-boiled Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, without the illusion of choice. Here we find periods Miltonic and Byronic, gleefully seething with cartoon villainy, pratfalls, B-movie clichés, and vivid brutality. Mr. Either/Or is a pop art symphony ― sprezzatura on the tongue, melisma in the mind ― and a Zoroastrian epic of kitsch and contradiction, aware that "tension alone can keep the world in balance." Also, it's funny as hell. The bro-tastic Keanu of a protagonist may face many choices in these pages, but for you, there can be only one. Don't choose poorly ― read it! –Chris Childers, poet and critic
Aaron Poochigian’s Mr. Either/Or is the most significant verse novel since at least Vikram Seth’s best-selling The Golden Gate of three decades ago, although Poochigian’s prosody and plotlines are more innovative than Seth’s. A kaleidoscopic fusion of the masterful verse of Richard Wilbur and the hipster wryness of Douglas Adams, this book combines multiple genres, high culture with pop culture, and grimness with exuberance. It is a memorable, challenging and entertaining read. –A.M. Juster, The Billy Collins Experience
About the Author
No customer reviews
|5 star (0%)|
|4 star (0%)|
|3 star (0%)|
|2 star (0%)|
|1 star (0%)|
Review this product
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
A fast paced adventure fest spanning eras and universes.
'Mr. Either/Or' is a verse thriller written at times in the second person as if it were a Choose Your Own Adventure Novel (except that all of the choices are made for the reader.) At times the verse is iambic pentameter, at others it is written in English alliterative verse like Beowulf.
Is it good of its kind? Poetically it’s as solid as all of Poochigian’s work. If you like meter, you’ll like this. It’s fun to read out loud. It’s playful. It’s funny. Poochigian spent about eight years working on this (according to an interview on 'The Reading Bud') and it shows.
Is it a good thriller? I can’t really say. I don’t read thrillers usually because I don’t care for suspense. The plot was exciting. A lot of the poems ended on cliffhangers. Our planet was threatened with total destruction. My best guess is that if you enjoy thrillers, there will be a lot in this verse novel for you to enjoy.
Did the second person narration work? I’d say so. It wasn’t jarring. I even stopped noticing it after awhile. It’s not an easy POV to pull off, but Poochigian does so masterfully.
The description for this verse novel says that the main character is like Don Juan and Hamlet. I wouldn’t say that is entirely accurate. The main character has little in common with Hamlet except that he’s a bit weak. The girl he hooks up with is the one who figures out how to kill the aliens and it’s her initiative that leads to their victory in the end. I wouldn’t say that the main character has any of Hamlet’s good traits. He’s not thoughtful, philosophical, or a good friend to much of anyone.
He may have more in common with Don Juan, but again, he seems mainly to have Don Juan’s bad traits. He is emotionally stunted in the right way. He continually fears that Li-ling wants to marry him (as if that would be a bad thing), even though it’s fairly obvious that a woman like her would break up with a guy like him once they got to know each other well. The only reason he wouldn’t know that is because he tends to end relationships preemptively, or, as he puts it, “As for the other sex, you kind of blunder/from bed to bed and vanish when they cry.”
For this reason the happy ending seemed a bit forced. The main character may not realize that he will sabotage any happiness he could get before it can develop into anything meaningful, but it seems obvious from the text that he will not have any lasting happiness with Li-ling or anyone else for that matter. In that way, I suppose he is very like Don Juan, but without the Don’s chutzpah.
Overall, is Mr. Either/Or worth reading? If you like poetry, thrillers, and anti-heroes, decidedly yes. The poetry appealed to me the most of everything in the story, but there is something here for everyone. Poochigian deserves to be more famous than he is.
(I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
In some sense, the plot of the novel is beside the point. In the first parts, a Chinese gang attempts to steal a mystical ancient artifact called the Claw, and our hero (the pronoun “you”) teams up with an art historian named Li-ling Levine to stop them. Poochigian brings up the clichés (“Her profession / is her husband, lover, habit, and obsession”) but thankfully deflates them as Levine proves more Princess Leia than Snow White, boldly taking on the villains. Then, these villains defeated, Levine and our hero confront a Men in Black style alien invasion. The Will Smith-vehicle may be a good comparison in one sense: the story is action-packed, but never takes itself too seriously. Late in the novel, trailing Levin as they climb stairs in a scene vaguely reminiscent of Ghostbusters, our hero laments:
Four stories, and the Queen of Cardio
is putting you to shame, but you don’t mind.
What with the nap on death, you need some time
to tally all your sins and mutter prayers
however many effing years ago. (7.1)
This is Poochigian’s style of humor: a clever metonymy sarcastically identifying Levine (“Queen of Cardio”) given by our hero while he also tries to justify his poor aerobic health that bleeds into a vernacular—bordering on vulgarity—reflection on modern skepticism. Big ideas juxtaposed with silly scenarios.
Poochigian’s novel is radical, though not in plot. The era of poetry telling this type of action story has seemingly passed; it has been almost two centuries since poets like Robert Southey sold told this type of long action story in verse. By the mid-1800s, the novel had replaced the long poem as the chief mode of the everyday story. The long poems that continued to be written were on the one hand more consciously literary and displaced in time. Think Browning’s 'Ring and the Book' or Tennyson’s 'Idylls.' More enduring more literary, allusive, challenging, disconnected, and for a more educated crowd. Though these modern works have proven some of the most influential and most deeply moving works of literature of the 20th century, they perhaps ceded the too much territory of narrative storytelling to prose fiction. The revival of long narrative poetry in the 1980s met the novel on its own terms; Poochigian’s 'Mr. Either/Or' does not make a play for realism or psychological depth. It’s plot is fun, but absurd, and while that pulpiness takes the tension out of the plot (just like in any action novel you’d be a fool to doubt the good guy wins), it rewards the reader by focusing on the language. The verse is limpid and begs to be read aloud.
It also begs to be bought, and is a worthy edition to any poetry collection.
Mr. Either/Or is a story in verse. It's brilliantly written with beautiful sentences, rhythm and fantastic original words. The story is a thriller with science fiction elements, it's poetry noir in its best form. It's a fast-paced adrenaline rush filled with chaos, intrigues, combat, shootings, destruction and more. This combined with the stunning literary style Aaron Poochigian writes in makes the book a unique work of art. I was blown away by his style, his eloquence and his impressive sense of timing.
Mr. Either/Or is versatile. The story is gripping, often dark and sometimes filled with humor. Aaron Poochigian has written a masterly book. It has many different facets that all come together in a terrific way. There's tension, mythology, love, plenty of blood, espionage and much more and everything works incredibly well together. It takes a lot of skill to pull that off. Mr. Either/Or is an excellent read, it's entertaining, intelligent, inventive and smooth. It's a story to enjoy over and over again and I highly recommend it.