Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review: Glen, by Bryan Gorrison

It can always get worse. That seems to be the core message of Bryan Gorrison's debut novel. When it begins with the titular Glen getting shipped off to jail for violently molesting a child, it's hard to imagine how it can go down from there, but soon Glen is involved in a spiral of homelessness, drugs, crime, and, well, worse.

Glen was published through a vanity press, and in a lot of ways, it shows. Typos and grammatical errors on nearly every page are a major distraction, in addition to dialogue, info-dumps, and plot structure that could have used a few more rounds of editing.

That said, Gorrison has a shitload of potential as an author. His minimalist style can paint evocative images with just a few words of description ("their hip bones stuck out of their underwear like circus tents"). More importantly, he's willing to go places that few authors are. The violence is over the top, with no attempt to coat it with any happy upside. Even better, the plot goes places that are completely unexpected, pivoting in bizarre ways that are impossible to discuss without spoiling it.

My sister lent me this book because she knows the author. It's difficult to find too much information about this little oddity of a novel or its author, but I hope he's still writing. Glen is a flawed and fucked up debut that seems to come from a mind capable of great things.


Andrea said...

A bit more on Bryan can be found here:

Phronk said...

Ah weird, I didn't find that when I Googled him. I added a link to the post, which should help rank him in the Googles. Thanks sister.