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Book Review: A Greater Monster by David David Katzman, and Caitlin Drake McKay (Illustrator)

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Set in post-apocalyptic times, A Greater Monster takes the reader on a vividly detailed journey in which a man, sometimes called “Last Man,” goes on a quest for a meaning and a reason. His search takes him to places where the creatures are colorfully exotic, and invoke an incredible array of feelings in the reader. Some of these feelings include nausea and revulsion. Curiosity also reares its head many times. The way author David David Katzmandoes much of the formatting of text and the pictures included in the story also invoke these feelings. I felt like I was on an acid trip that lasted longer than a typical dose on a tab.

Through much of the tale I could hear The Grateful Dead singing, “What a long strange trip it’s been,” running through my head. As the Last Man forays into different scenes, he encounters some very strange beings such as a sphinx and demi-gods. He has to try to unravel the meanings behind these encounters through the confusing clutter of his thoughts. His thoughts transform and evolve into some hallucinatory visions in which he experiences all of his senses. Much of which I would imagine one would see if they were looking through a warped mirror while engaging in psychedelic substances at a Funhouse.

However, much of what the Last Man sees and experiences is not fun. He has to dig much deeper for meaning, while trying to avoid getting lost in the convolutions of his thoughts.

Intelligently written and displayed, A Greater Monster is truly like no book I have ever read before. While visions of Alice in Wonderland strayed through the back of my thoughts, this book is so much more. I admire David David Katzman’s creativity and the amount of work that must have gone into creating such an exotic literary gift for readers who like to read beyond the lines of contemporary fiction.

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