Sunday, January 3, 2010
Two Tales - Two Epic Journeys
In the manner of small coincidences I ended up reading and listening to these two books during the same time period and they both are stories with epic journeys. In fact, I occasionally got the tales mixed up when I was describing them to others. Though the tales have quite different plots they both deal with a journey that is meant to save the world with zany, unlikely heroes.
Couch by Benjamin Parzybok- Three guys living in Portland, Oregon are forced to moved out of their apartment and so begins the journey. As they attempt to carry the couch to Goodwill they find that the couch gets extremely heavy if carried in a direction it doesn't want to go and light if carried in a direction it does. The guys, with nothing else to do, find themselves carrying the couch out of Portland heading West with every move seemingly directed by the couch. Similar to Frodo's journey with the ring in The Lord of the Rings, everyone they meet along the way wants the couch and wants it for selfish reasons. At some point the threesome realize that they are on an epic journey to save the world by delivering the couch to the right spot, wherever that might be. Their journey takes them to the highest mountains in Ecuador via the Pacific Ocean. Adventures await them every step of the way.
Going Bovine by Libba Bray- Cameron Smith is a nobody high-schooler with a dysfunctional family until his diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jacob, "mad cow" disease changes everything. When his hallucinations begin they seem to be related to his disease, or are they? So begins the journey, or is it an hallucination (?), to find the elusive Doctor X who will not only cure Cameron of his disease but will also save the world from the negative effects of dark matter. Along the way Cameron is helped by a dwarf side-kick named Gonzo, a punk-rock angel named Dulcie, and a Norse God stuck in the body of yard gnome. The quest has many parallels to the hopeless but inspirational efforts of Don Quixote, the book Cameron had been reading before his illness. The story is tragic, inspirational, funny and sad. I laughed and cried. The ending wasn't what I wanted but it was very satisfying.
I highly recommend both books though I recognize that they aren't the type of books for every reader. Going Bovine was written with a young adult audience in mind, though I think it will have appeal for many adults just like I think many teens, especially those who like quirky books, will appreciate Couch. 4 1/2 Stars for each.