- 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 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 318 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #905,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Mr. Either/Or Paperback – Oct 20 2017
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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
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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.)
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.
Who would know that a novel in verse could be one of those so hard to put down that I was up late last night finishing this thriller in verse, for that is what it is.
Part satiric mystery, part crazy satiric sci-fi invasion tale, part satiric love story this is one eye opener, work of an uncanny writer writes like a hipster, as if Allan Ginsberg had gotten his head out of the drugs and written a thriller that be all account should be a best seller.
See what you think – this is a not to be missed work of thriller literature that will be with you long after you finish it!