AN OPENING ACT OF UNSPEAKABLE EVIL by Jim Munroe (No Media Kings), 250 pages, $20 paper. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Local shit-disturber Jim Munroe has taken some serious risks with his new novel, and most of them work for him. With An Opening Act Of Unspeakable Evil, he's ditched the anarcho-speculative fiction he hoped would make him a literary name - a smart move, since his science was weak and plot lines even more so.
He's gone instead for a blog format that follows the experiences of Kate, an art scenester who discovers that her roommate Lilith has a thing for demonic rituals. Kate, desperate for a cool way to launch a new show at the gallery where she works part-time, decides to enlist Lilith, who's such a hit that they take the show on the road, where they open for an up-and-coming indie rock band.
Also on the team is Michael, Lilith's new boyfriend, who's been incorporated into the show, and Brian, the lighting guy who's hot for Lilith. It's up to Kate to organize everything and book the shows.
Munroe has a terrific way of making dialogue sound like it's coming out of the mouths of people you'd run into at the Communist Daughter. He obviously knows the terrain he's writing about here - starving artists with time issues, rock musicians with ego issues.
He takes a risk in writing from the point of view of a woman. Kate is an ex-yuppie, almost naive 20-something, who's both fascinated by and terrified of her charismatic roomie. - Smart but insecure, horny but reserved, she's believable, and her fake-out entries - as in, oops, that didn't really happen, I made it up - are a riot.
Not that Munroe has suddenly become a kick-ass prose stylist. He's no poet and the blog strategy lets him cheat when he doesn't feel up to explicitly describing some key events.
But he's definitely made some literary moves in the right direction.
Munroe launches An Opening Act Of Unspeakable Evil at the Gladstone on Wednesday (August 31) as part of the Perpetual Motion Roadshow. See Readings