Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dead End Follies Book Club - IN NINE KINDS OF PAIN




Welcome to the book club. This week, for our first discussion, we have a debut author: Leonard Fritz. I have reviewed (and greatly praised) his first novel IN NINE KINDS OF PAIN, last December. I had good reasons for that. Lenny Fritz doesn't play extactly in the classic investigation/heist/meth labs/revenge paradigms of crime fiction. No, instead he drags you, the reader, in a guided tour of the wrong end of Detroit. The great Charlie Stella has compared Fritz to Hubert Selby Jr., which is very accurate. IN NINE KINDS OF PAIN is about your tour guide Baby and the worst week of her life, but it's also about the city who's just having another week at work. If you don't feel compelled to read it already (shame on you), here are a few reasons why you should pay great attention to the work of this writer, who's I'm sure, bound to great success.

THREE REASONS TO READ: IN NINE KINDS OF PAIN

1) The wisdom-giver. He regularly interrupts Baby's adventures to dish out some of the most angry and inspired prose you will read. He's merely an interlude in between chapters, but he sets the tone of Fritz's setting. He tells you exactly how dark and dangerous the streets of Detroit can be, so you can panic and Baby can keep her endearing tainted innocence.

2) Leonard Fritz's comic book panels. Do you know any serious crime novels that have comic book panels and on top of it, make it work beautifully alongside the story. IN NINE KINDS OF PAIN does.

3) Baby's boys. Power, law and religion. They are the crutches of every weak soul, the most seducing concepts to somebody spiraling downward. They are all present in Leonard Fritz's novel and they are all lusting for Baby.


But maybe you've read IN NINE KINDS OF PAIN already. Good for you then. You've spotted the diamond in the mine. If you haven't yet, stop reading this post right here and go buy the novel immediately. But if you've read it, well...maybe we can discuss it a little bit. It's a fairly short work, but it has many interesting points.

THREE TOPICS ABOUT: IN NINE KINDS OF PAIN

1) The protagonists are absolutely blinded by their immediate needs, leaving Baby to herself with her problems. Do you think their general depression and apathy is economically based (poverty) or moral? That the downfall of the Judeo-Christian culture (especially the "I shall not want") has lead exactly to its opposite?

2) Who do you think is the real protagonist here? Baby or Detroit? Explain how so.

3) Do you think we're bound to see more multimedia novels like IN NINE KINDS OF PAIN and Jesus Angel Garcia's badbadbad? Why do you think this suddenly appeared in the landscape? Do you think they're bound to threaten the literary form? If so, how?


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