I Heart Indies

Monday, June 17, 2013

Baby You're a Rich Man - Review

One of the coolest things - if not the coolest thing - about being a writer is you end up hobnobbing with so many other writers.  What a lovely smug feeling it gives to name drop, "Oh, so-and-so Insert Name of Talented Author Here my personal friend..."

Baby You're a Rich Man just happens to be by my, ahem, personal friend Chris Bundy.  It also happens to be an astounding piece of work, its telling as unlikely as its subject matter.  It is the story of Kent Richman, erstwhile John Lennon impersonator of the Japanese TV show, Strange Bonanza.  A Strange Bonanza indeed - pursued by a diminishing trickle of paparazzi, his own personal demons, and a would-be killer bent on vengeance, Richman ultimately finds sanctuary and possible redemption from his lover's uncle, a chain-smoking Buddhist priest.

Yes, yes, I know, you read a story identical to that just last week, but part of what makes this book so remarkable is a multi-layered approach that's impossible to fully explain here.  Switching between real-time events, cuttings from tabloid stories, and game-show clips, enhanced by graphic-novel-esque illustrations by Max Currie, the effect on the reader is a bombardment of pop-culture similar to the one we experience waiting in a check out line, simply commuting to work, or... being an erstwhile John Lennon impersonator from a Japanese variety show.  Chris, my personal friend, brilliantly paints the modern dilemma with all its absurdity and dark humor.  Recovering yourself in the mirror-world of wannabes, never-wases, and hangers-on of celebrity culture.

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