Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Lord Vishnu's Love Handles - Will Clarke

   2005; 290 pages.  New Author? : Yes.  Genre : Humorous Fiction; Religious Satire.  Overall Rating : 7*/10.

    Travis Anderson thinks he’s becoming psychic.  On one hand, this is kinda cool, since he’s tearing up the online game called Psychic Cow.  On the other, this is way uncool, since he’s getting these vibes that his wife is having an affair with his business partner.  And she’s pregnant.

    Also,  there’s this girl with pink hair who’s inside his head and sends him all sorts of messages and disturbing visions.  Who is she and why’d she pick him to communicate with?  Is she a real person somewhere, projecting herself into Travis’s consciousness?

    Well, one thing’s for sure.  The big blue dude who pops into view occasionally outside of Travis’s head isn’t real.  No one else sees him.

    And unlike Ms. Pink-Hair, the blue guy doesn’t give Travis any messages.  He just smiles.  And flashes his love handles.

What’s To Like...
    With a title like Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles, you know it’s going to be an off-the-wall tale and the book delivers in this regard.  It’s refreshing to see Hindu deities used, instead of the standard Roman and Greeks gods.  Travis is kind of a reluctant Chosen One, and training and equipping him for the role requires patience and meditation.

    The chapters are short and their titles oftentimes witty.  The tale is told in the first-person (Travis’s) POV.  There aren’t a lot of characters to keep track of, so you can concentrate on determining which ones are the good guys are, and who are the baddies.  You don’t need to be an expert on Hindu gods and religious beliefs to enjoy this book.

    There is a ton of cussing, and frankly, I didn’t find it necessary.  There’s also a lot of drug usage  (mostly Percodan) and booze.  Beneath all the silliness, Will Clarke provides some keen insight on addiction to meds and alcoholism.  I also liked the hypothesis that ugliness in the key to invisibility.

    The title is only tangentially related to the story, and this definitely is not a spy novel.  Instead, we get to watch Travis evolve from an annoying and neurotic antihero into something somewhat better.  This is a standalone novel.

Kewlest New Word…
Histrionic (adj.) : overly theatrical or melodramatic in character or style.

    “Okey-dokey, Mr. Anderson.”  She pulls out this huge file folder from her bag.  “Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.”
    Debra McFadden speaks in rhymes.  Debra McFadden was spawned by Satan.  (loc. 485)

    “Do you know who Rupert Sheldrake is?” he asks.
    “No.”  I sneer at him.  “And unless he’s got a bag full of Percodan, I don’t want to know him.”
    “He’s a cellular biologist from Cambridge,” Solomon lisps.  “Basically, he’s proven the principle of morphic resonance.”
    “And I should give a f*ck about this because…?”
    “Because, Travis, what just happened here is textbook morphic resonance.  You became a disturbance in the field.  And if we can figure out how you did this, well, then we could make you a very rich man.”
    “A rich man?”  My ears perk up.  “Keep talking.”  (loc. 1540)

Kindle Details...
    Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles sells for $14.99 right now at Amazon, which seems quite steep, but it’s comparable to the price of his only other e-book, The Worthy: A Ghost’s Story, which goes for $13.99.

“I’m sorry.  I don’t speak fortune cookie.”  (loc. 1294)
    I found Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles an interesting read, but I never was drawn into the storyline.  The cussing was distracting and the attempts at humor seemed more snarky than funny.  After the plot built steadily towards a showdown at Disney World, the ending felt straightforwardly flat.  I like my endings to have some twists.

    Still, everyone’s sense of humor is different, and another reader may well find LVLH hilarious.  And although it didn’t really entertain me, neither did it make me yawn.

    7 Stars.  In closing, this book brought back fond memories of a time back in my college days when several of us, bored out of our skulls and undoubtedly high on pot, decided to visit the local Hare Krishna temple.  Highlights included free food (“Here., have some of this very good pashad!”), chanting and dancing on one foot, and a disciple that kept falling asleep while in the lotus position during the Bhagavad Gita study.  Think bobbing head sinking slowly into one’s lap, followed by annoyed guru rapping him sharply on the knee.  Fun times.

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