Unfinished Book: "The Fast Red Road: a plainsong" by Stephen Graham Jones


I'm pretty sure it's been at least two years since I've cracked FRR. And reading it, I think, made me a better reader while challenging my notions of what fiction can be. So: a perfect entry to Unfinished Books.

I've read about a third of FRR and I wish I had decided not to finish it years ago so I could say all the things I once wanted to say about it. Here are some highlights:

  • I've never read anything that made me feel that I understood the, er, mystical experience of being a Native American. Holy crap, that sounds racist. But you know what? Reading this novel is why I found The Path of Antelope, Pelican, and Moon so unbearable. The fact is, we have buried among us a rich and now alien culture. This plainsong offers a glimpse of what living with that worldview might be like. And it's disorienting and strange, but it feels honest and true. That salad-bar hallucination makes the rules of reality seem really overobserved by whitey.
  • This book is exceedingly modern. To the point that I should have rejected it long ago. But I did not. And why not? Because it's not mere gimmickry and lookatmeismry. It's capturing something strange and true that can't quite be represented in other ways. From sex to death with all the stops in-between via fast car, FRR has you covered. It's a dizzying and confusing ride, but it's an honest one.
Sadly, I only made it about a third of the way through the book. I think a more standard plot was about to kick in. I don't know if that would prove to be a good thing or a bad thing, but it doesn't matter now. I've received the gifts FRR offered me and I have no more room to receive.

May someone else glean more.

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