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Author : Erickson Steve
Publisher : Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Release : December 3, 2014
Genre : Literature & Fiction
On the same August day in 1969 that a crazed hippie “family” led by Charles Manson commits five savage murders in the canyons above Los Angeles, a young ex-communicated seminarian arrives with images of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift – “the two most beautiful people in the history of the movies” – tattooed on his head. At once childlike and violent, Vikar is not a cineaste but “cineautistic”, sleeping at night in the Roosevelt Hotel where he’s haunted by the ghost of D. W. Griffith. Vikar has stepped into the vortex of a culture in upheaval: strange drugs that frighten him, a strange sexuality that consumes him, a strange music he doesn’t understand. Over the course of the 70s and into the 80s, he pursues his obsession with film from one screening to the next and through a series of cinema-besotted conversations and encounters with starlets, burglars, guerrillas, escorts, teenage punks, and veteran film editors, only to discover a secret whose clues lie in every film ever made.
I am putting together a new Freshman level class for the Spring semester, and after reading Zeroville and several other of Erickson’s books, I want to toss out all the textbooks I have assigned and replace them with Erickson’s novels. He is so passionate about digging through different historic events, exploring America’s bizzare and dangerous obsessions with its own exceptionalism and millennial fantasies, that Erickson outshines just about any academic text on American history and meaning (it doesn’t hurt that he writes better than historians).
But specifically, the way in which the character Vikar approaches reality and movies is as a complete innocent: he sees horror movies and thinks they are comedies; after watching The Sound of Music, he believes the An Trapps are a re-invention of the Manson family, trailing songs and terror throughout Europe. This narrative choice allows the reader to experience the last four decades of history and movies with completely new eyes, revealing just how odd a place and time America really is.
Vikar’s innocence is balanced by his violence (smashing a hippie in the head with a dinner tray because the man mis-identified the Taylor/Clift tatoo on Vikar’s head) suggesting, at least to me, the public claims to innocence that the U.S. has historically claimed while it has been engaged in some of the most violent actions of the modern period.
But, again, Zeroville stands up to readings on multiple levels and calls out of multiple readings. It also sheds light back on Erikson’s earlier work, suggesting the linked but non-linear continuity of all his works.
If you like movies, punk rock, beautiful narrative prose or just flat out, off-handed weirdness then Zeroville is the perfect drug.
Langue : English
File size : 1 Mo
Format : EPUB
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