Friday, June 24, 2011

Miss Entropia and the Adam Bomb by George Rabasa

It's a rare treat for a book with a rather depressing topic to feel lighthearted and humorous, but that's exactly what George Rabasa has given us in his new title: Miss Entropia and the Adam Bomb.  The amazing thing is that he manages to do this without coming off as flippant or inaccurate.  This, in my opinion, is even more impressive than if he'd gone the serious route (as in the film Garden State (or the book C) where the storytelling style directly mirrors the mental state of the main character) because balancing humor with mental illness is a seriously fine line.

Just how ill Adam and Pia are is an interesting matter to consider, especially as compared against the "sane" people in their lives.  The blurb on the back of the book describes Adam as "no saner than he wants to be" and (because I'm having a hard time summarizing it myself) the synopsis goes like this:
      From the moment Adam Webb sees Francine Haggard--in the van that is supposed to return them to the Institute Loiseaux--the two young mental patients are inextricably connected. Adam will never let this girl go.  From Hijacking the van, to hiding her in his bedroom and then spiriting her away to Minnesota's north woods, "Miss Entropia" becomes the focus of Adam's every thought and of everything he does.
      He believes her to be a goddess, his own goddess.  But the pyromaniacal Miss Entropia will be neither worshiped nor owned.  And so Adam's possessiveness is destined to push her to the point where her fury will ignite.  Theirs is an incendiary love story, an unbalanced Romeo and Juliet, that spins and arcs its way strangely toward tragedy.
The writing is crisp, with a fair amount of dialogue, and every page moves the plot forward, illuminating the characters' personalities.  It was a great experience and a joy to read--another score for Unbridled Books! If you are up for a unique voice in writing, and a humorous jaunt through "normal" life, you really should pick this book up.  I thought it was brilliant.  I'll leave you with a random quote (from pages 226-227 at an art museum) to whet your appetite:
     An hour later we were in the Walker, standing before a skinny security guard too tall for the pants cuffs hovering above his ankles, who faced us with a look of profound indifference.  His attitude was reassuring since heightened interest from people in uniforms made us uneasy.
      "Can you direct us to the Picasso exhibit, sir?" Pia asked him.
      "Galleries three and four," he said with a nod toward the stairs behind him.
      Clearly Pia expected more. "What's your name?" she asked, as if she planned lodge a complaint for his lack of enthusiasm.
      "Ralph."
      "Wow, short for Rafaello. A great artistic name.  Art is in your DNA, Ralph.  You are preordained for your profession."
      He directed a look at her, then a quick glance in my direction to see if I was complicit in this exchange.  I tried to convey with a slight shrug that I was simply a bystander.
      "You must love your job," Pia said.  "Spending your day surrounded by all this great art."
      "Anything else I can do for you?" He gave Pia a blank stare designed to bring this odd conversation to its conclusion.
      "I'm looking for Girl Before a Mirror," she said.
      "I don't know her," he said, already dismissing us from his attention.  "Check the ladies room."
      Pia took his answer at face value.  "No, you wouldn't know her.  She's Marie-Therese. She was Pablo's mistress back in the '30s."
      I rushed to the rescue.  "it's one of Picasso's paintings."
      "Galleries three and four," he repeated mechanically.
Like I said, it's a treat. Eat it up!

Title: Miss Entropia and the Adam Bomb
Author: George Rabasa
Pages: 336
Published: 2011 Unbridled Books
Read For: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
My Rating: 4.5 stars

3 comments:

  1. This is definitely on my list. So much to read, so little time. And another vote here for Unbridled Books. Those people rock.

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  2. I like brilliant and I'm becoming more of an Unbridled fan all the time.

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  3. This book was such a wonderful treat! I just loved how humor was blended into a dark matter and also how thought-provoking it was about the question of sanity.

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