Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Miranda by John R. Little

John R. Little
Bad Moon Books

John Little has become one of the authors to watch. If you see his name attached to a project, you can bet your bottom limited edition dollar it’s bound to sell out and quick. In the few years this vibrant storyteller has been pro, his fans have become legion, screaming for more of his seemingly patented mix of slipstream Bradbury-esque prose.
With his newest release from the lucky dogs at Bad Moon Books, MIRANDA, he dives back into the time travel/slipstream storytelling, but with a devastatingly emotional twist.
Caveat: if you don’t want to blubber like a baby at the end, then please, don’t read this book! If you don’t want to be downright haunted by a plot that allows for no escape, no happy endings, and no Deus Ex-Machina to make it all better, do NOT read this book!
When Michael awakes on his death bed, very much alive, we are forced to bear witness to a man who must live his life backwards. The problem is, he doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing anymore than if he were living it in the right direction. He still makes mistakes, still hurts, and, man, does he ever feel the being an existentially aware upright ape. Little is a clever writer: he knows exactly how to condense a story down to its bare bones, and yet still give it a life that breathes and jumps. You will feel Michael’s fear, his pain, and finally his loss. There is no way to avoid any of it, because he’s already done it all before.
MIRANDA may be one of the most perfect books I’ve read in the small press in a damn long time, folks. This is exactly what a well written story should do: it makes you feel something, it forces you to think, to anticipate, and finally, to struggle with its inherent puzzles and pain.
I pondered and laughed along with Michael as he falls in love backwards with Miranda, the love of his life, with no memory of why he lost her in the first place. And I cried like a baby at the end.
There are two scenes especially that will haunt me forever.
I won’t tell you here; you have to read the book to feel the angst and overwhelming emotion that come along with them, because just when you think you can understand what it must be like for Michael to live backwards, you are given a whole new level of comprehension at the every end.
Unless you’re a heartless so and so, you’ll cry too.
Buy this book, if you can get a copy. It’s writers like John R. Little that should be selling more books.
--Nickolas Cook