Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Andersen Prunty - Zerostrata

If you read, lets say, Bradley Sands, Carlton Mellick III, Gina Ranalli, Cameron Peirce and Anderson Prunty all at the same time, you will likely notice that there is no one way to write or define bizarro fiction. Resently, however, I realized that Prunty tends to be one my favorites of the Bizarro crowd. I think that, once a reader peels back the multiple levels of absurdity to Prunty's writing, he's working from some level of emotion or real actual humanity. In a strange way, Prunty's characters seem more human at a basic level than parody pastiche.

At least, that's how I felt after reading Zerostrata. It's a story about a guy named Hansel Nothing, who returns home after a long while. It's often referred to, throughout the story, that he previously was in hell. His mother is constantly popping pills with a cat attached to her head. His absentee father is a wannabe super hero, and his brother hardly leaves the basement. In the back of the yard, there's a tree house called "Zerostrata" -- and it comes with all the nostalgia that a childhood relic would bring with it. Along the way, Hansel meets Gretel Something (who runs through the neighborhood naked) and well, life begins to take on a new meaning. In its own special way, Zerostrata is a coming of age story. As stated earlier, once you peel back the silliness, Hansel is grappling with adulthood and what it means to be an adult. And, honestly, there's nothing bizarre about that.

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