Vacation: Jeremy C Shipp
The good folk at Raw Dog Screaming Press have unleashed on the world, Vacation; without a doubt, one of the most bizzare, crazy (and I hate to use the phrase) far-out books I have ever had the pleasure of swapping photons with.
“It’s time for Bernard Johnson to leave his boring life behind and go on The Vacation, a year long corporate-sponsored odyssey. But instead of seeing the world, Bernard is captured by terrorists, becomes a key figure in secret drug wars, and, worse, doesn’t once miss his secure American Dream.” That’s the blurb on the back, and in no way does it do the story justice.
In my opinion, it should read something like, “It’s time for Bernard Johnson to leave his boring life behind and go on a year long, corporate sponsored Vacation. Where he’s whip cracked into a world of hallucinations (maybe) and the crazy, dark side of the world today, as his brain breaks down, and he takes a tour of violence, beauty and surrealism within a challenging. violent nightmare. And not once missing his secure American Dream.”
Vacation is written in the first person, so the author tends to speak to the reader a lot - this adds to the unworldly, plain strange read it is. Adding the fact that some of the passages are written to Bernard’s parents, it mixes and matches techniques into a literary blender of truths about the world today.
You are whip lashed from one scene to another, trying hard to keep up with what is, or might be, or probably isn’t, sort of, happening. I felt there was a lot of anger in the story, anger with the world, anger with certain situations which the protagonist comes up against. It’s dark.
The book is a short read (158 odd pages), but it packs a lot into the space, and it packs a dizzyingly, stomach lurching, punch to the brain. I’ve not tried to describe what happens in the book, so as not to spoil it in any way whatsoever. I’ve described how it’s packaged and how it comes across. To find out what happens you’ll have to partake in this enjoyable rollercoaster ride for yourself.
It’s one of the rare books that once I finished it, I started to read it again pretty much straight away.
Jeremy C. Shipp is an author whose written creations inhabit various magazines, anthologies, and drawers. These include over 30 publications, the likes of ChiZine, Bare Bone, The Harrow, Flesh and Blood, Until Someone Loses an Eye, and Darkness Rising. While preparing for the forthcoming collapse of civilization, Jeremy enjoys living in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse. He’s currently working on many stories and novels and is losing his hair, though not because of the ghosts. Vacation, his first published novel, debuted April 2007 from Raw Dog Screaming Press. You can visit his online home at Haunted House Dressing.
Hopefully, Jeremy is hunched over his writing equipment right now, scribbling away on his next book.