I Heart Oklahoma!

Soho. Aug. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9781616959388. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781616959395. F
Scranton (War Porn) begins this new work in the tradition of road novels, with Jim, Suzie, and Remy, a trio of friends (and lovers), embarking on a video project to observe and document Trump’s America. As they travel, relational complications inevitably develop but are never quite resolved. While Part 1 of the book pays homage to Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov, and other prose minstrels of the American highway narrative in language that approaches poetry, Parts 2 and 3 blow a tire and veer way off the freeway into a ditch. For reasons that evade detection, the names of the characters suddenly change, and the writing—at times resembling verbal jazz—becomes, to put it kindly, challenging, with sentences that seem almost computer-generated in their randomness, even occasionally descending into gibberish (“Tak stug wam dak enten chapeau silas”). Mercifully, the last part manages to get all four wheels back on the asphalt. Suzie, now solo, writes the story of two serial killers, though it’s not clear how this relates to anything else in the book.
VERDICT The prose soars in places, but this will definitely try the patience of anyone grounded in traditional prose constructions

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