terça-feira, 27 de março de 2007
1. Native Tongue, by Carl Hiaasen

Native Tongue
by Carl Hiaasen (1991)

When I started this insane "ooo, I read books now" thing, I knew exactly who to come to. I have this friend, you see - who we shall call Mr. Black...for, uh, tax purposes - , that lives somewhere in a cave. A very special cave it is, mind you. Not only is it fully equipped with a bathroom, internet connection, and silly aunt, but it also is flooded in cds, dvds, videos, magazines, bits of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and books. Lots, and lots of books. If he wanted, he could put a sign on the door - of the, uh...cave, of course - inviting people to visit the "Mr. Black's fabulous explosion of guts and Mel Brooks movies"...slash library. It would be a treat. At least to me, because I could just rummage through his collection without any silly social contact with said dark lord.
But, as I was saying, I sent him a message asking him for books. He, grinning - I should imagine, because it was a text message - , replied promptly with threats of making me carry his weight in books. Which, even if he doesn't weight a lot, is a bit much. A few weeks later, we met and I almost jumped out of my pants (but I didn't, because I have respect for common folk) when I saw the huge bag he had. Not because there were a lot those damn many-paged creatures, but simply because they seemed huge to me. I have a history with books, albeit a ghastly one. Sometimes I'd take 3 months to read a book with 200 pages. Not even a historical romance, science-ficitiony...difficult, monsters in my brain kind of thing, but a normal, straightforward book. I get bored, and yet watch loads of britcoms like a whore. And I feel terrible. And incredibly ignorant next to most of my friends. However, as he took each one out of the bag he started on them as if they were the only books on earth. They all sounded so interesting. And usually, I never mean this. I just say it to get out of a conversation about a book that X is reading. "It's about a girl who falls in love with a boy. It's about love, you know? The human condition. They live in Tibet, so they know a shitload lot about the human condition."
Mr. Black's books - I like to believe - were different. Because of his - rather erroneous - notion that I'm exactly like him when he was my age, he picked books that he read at that time. He also picked ones that "suited me". I shall comment on this again later on. We even had a couple of moments when Mr. Black would vanish from the world and...start reading. I felt myself floating there, waiting for a pedicure - he looked so immersed! I ended up asking if he didn't want to take the books home with him: "It's like taking candy from a child". He probably answered something mildly rude about how I actually *am* a child, adding that his role is to torture me with images of middle aged naked men, not to make me grow as person, but simply because it would amuse him a great deal. Like usual. Where was I, anyway? Oh, yes, uh...books! Words and the sort.
I got home and as I am one for rituals (I have a lucky pen, which is telling) I went to sleep thinking which one should I read first. I had asked him this, but, as I expected, he was no help at all. Looked like an overexcited child, remembering the stories. "They are all so good, how I can decide which one to go with first?", she wrote, thinking she knew a lot about how he thought. He was probably making anagrams as he "read". Nah, that'd be me. Oh, yes, tangent. I never was any good with decisions - nasty little things -, so when the next day came I still didn't know where to start. "Fuck that", I thought, in my unnecessary expletive manner, "I'll just choose it by the cover". In the end, it helped that he had given me a summary for each book. I chose the one "about rats". It was called Native Tongue, by a guy called Carl Hiaasen, which I believe is the only author - from the books he lend me - I'll end up remembering the name. It has two "a"'s in it. How could I not. And after a quick run to Wikipedia, I found out that he wrote Striptease, and some "young adult" novels, which I, being me, obviously took the wrong way. Oh, the things that amuse me. Let's get on to the book itself.

Native Tongue--I must start counting the times I wrote tongue with an extra "u". Maybe it's to sound british. Colour. Favourite. But Native Ton - 2 times - ...gue starts out with a family on vacation. Typical american family: they rent a fancy sports car (LeBaron, I think it was) for their holiday in Florida. Being from Florida himself, Hiaasen - I'm starting to sound rather serious, but after thinking about it for a while he's too cool for one of my standard, unfunny nicknames, so we'll leave it at that - often writes about that particular region. After a short while, the Whelpers, our typical american family, are greated with a rat. A vole, if one has to be precise. The creature was thrown from a truck where two thieves, Bud Schwartz and Danny Pogue had just stolen, for no apparent reason, a couple of voles from the Amazing Kingdom. A kind of ratty - no pun intended - , smaller and greasier version of some Disney park. There, we find Charles Chelsea,the submissive, boot-licking boss of Joe Winder, an ex...journalist, I think. He punched someone at his last job. Needless to say, he has a bit of an attitude, which is extremely fun to read. At first I thought the book would be about the family and their possible encounters with the thieves, but I'm glad it turned out the other way. The story unfolds itself in such a way that we end up with sufficient background on each of the...10 (?) characters, which is quite a feat. Sometimes we don't even need any kind of adjective to feel something about a character. From the moment Charles Chelsea is presented, I understood his type perfectly. I wasn't wrong. Ooo, get her! I use such a cliché manner of writing, sometimes. Anywho...the book is fantastic. One of its great virtues is its pacing. I'm guessing that a lot of the reviews about the book say things like "it keeps you on the edge of your seat", "thrilling adventure", "roller-coaster that will leave you wanting more"...because it really does. There's not much I can see about it without using one of those silly little expressions. It's *that* exciting. Aside from that, the climax is simply one of the greatest things I've ever read. So much going, I felt like I actually was there and didn't know where to look first, it was all so amusing. And that's another thing. This friend of mine, Mr. Black. He...he...he's...I like him. He's just...he picked this, you see, and was sure I'd like it. How couldn't I? Joe Winder's humor is deliciously devious. At any given situation, he'll deliver amazing quips - even if he's bleeding to death, he's funny. Reminds of my friend, for some reason. I love him, but he can be so funny when he's miserable. I'm just miserable when I'm miserable. And I'm never funny, so that amazes me. Joe's constant ennui with routine and a steady job lead him to incredibly insane solutions, which I shall remember for years. Adding to that, he quite the distinct touch of dirtiness. I shall forever remember a passage about "convenient holes" (pg.205) in a fishnet dress. Kinky and pleasing. And to think Mr. Black read this when he was much, much younger than me. That brought some interesting images. 14 year old, mostly innocent...err...book, yes. But the book may be about bad guys with guns but it also has my favorite form of "romance", which is non-corny, lots of sex, romance. Romance away, people...it pleases *me*. It just goes to show that it can range from the most horrid images (i.e. any scene involving Pedro Luz) to Joe's relationships all the while demonstrating a solid environmental concern over the interests of people like Francis X. Kingsbury. It's interesting how the "heroes" of the story are complete lunatics, in the best possible sense of the word. They are just...out of this world. Right in the first time we meet Molly McNamara, she shoots one of the thieves for no reason. Or maybe she had one, I don't remember, but it was surprising, that much I recall. One other thing that amused were the character names - even there we could find lots of personality. They seemed to have come out of limericks. Strange thought, I know.
All in all, this was a great way to start the 50 books in a year thing. I have since added 2 or 3 of his books to my list.
posted by black__cherry @ 21:14  

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