Thursday, March 22, 2007

Chris Albani, Virgin of Flames

Chris Albani, author of the award-winning novel Graceland, puts together a very strange collection of characters, which definitely sets this book apart from our last pick (The Darkest Child by Deloris Phillips). In this book you have an artist named Black who is infatuated with a transexual stripper, spends most of his time in a raggedy spaceship on top of a place called the Ugly Store, and has a butcher friend from Rawanda with a separate set of issues. Not to mention Iggy, the eccentric tatoo artist with rings in her back so that she can tatoo celebrities while suspended in some kind of trance.Yeah, it's that kind of book. On the surface it seems like a creative writing exercise (e.g., take all of these crazy characters and make a story), but in reality (and I have not yet finished this book), it seems like Albani is cooking up a unique and resonating story set against a backdrop that might seem unusual on the surface but is probably more normal than our own lives.

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