The Weirdness: A Novel


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May 23, Linda Robinson rated it liked it.

The Weirdness by Jeremy P Bushnell

William Harrison Ridgeway is a 30 year old schlep who would like to be a writer, and writes enough to have a file of writing, but not so much that he can't carry it with him. He works making sandwiches in a NY deli. His roommate has disappeared, his girlfriend is tiring of him, and his best friend works next to him, wearing a hairnet, piling meat and chopped lettuce on breads. Until an Adversarial Manifestation sits on Billy's couch after brewing a pot of excellent coffee. This debut novel suffe William Harrison Ridgeway is a 30 year old schlep who would like to be a writer, and writes enough to have a file of writing, but not so much that he can't carry it with him.

This debut novel suffers because I 1 read a lot, and 2 have a taste for weird that's funny, too. This book isn't weird enough. It has some funny bits the chapter headings but the contrast of ultimate evil and consummate good isn't there. Everyone in this book is schleppy. The devil may have a slightly better wardrobe, and the warlock a slightly dingier, but that's the breadth of it. I assume the Adversarial Manifestation uses breath mints to riposte the rank of his opponent.

There are deals made and offered but none with the weight of eternity, or lasting inconvenience of significant duration. There is the possibility of the end of the world somewhere in the mix of pro- and an- tagonists, and that play could have been fun if the histogram had been steeper. May 19, Yodamom rated it really liked it Shelves: This tempted by the Devil read is way out of the norm and very entertaining. I went into this book blind so I and no expectations. When I started reading I was intrigued by where this character who was at his bottom was going to go.

He did not take the expected path and his reactions did not follow the well worn way of many others books. He is not a very likable guy nor is he unlikable, he's almost a shadow with all his doubts and missteps. I enjoyed it, it made me think a Unique and unexpected. I enjoyed it, it made me think about new things. I had my 19 year old daughter read it, a harsh critic, she thought is was weird at first but then became glued to it as well and ended it stating "that was a good book.

Apr 01, Robert Beveridge rated it really liked it Shelves: I have known Jeremy IRL since the early nineties. When I started reading The Weirdness—and I have to admit, I was planning on finishing the novel I was in the middle of before starting this, but I'd left it at work on a day I had to go to the hospital for an outpatient procedure, and this had popped up in the mail the day before and so I had it sitting on the desk next to me and grabbed it—I had planned to use it as a time-k Jeremy P. When I started reading The Weirdness—and I have to admit, I was planning on finishing the novel I was in the middle of before starting this, but I'd left it at work on a day I had to go to the hospital for an outpatient procedure, and this had popped up in the mail the day before and so I had it sitting on the desk next to me and grabbed it—I had planned to use it as a time-killer until I finished the novel I was actually reading at the time.

You know how that goes. A week later, I had finished The Weirdness, and nothing else in my house save a cookbook had gotten any face time. I expected it to be a decent book—Jeremy and I wrote collaborative poetry together, I know the boy can write—but I was still unprepared for the book I got. Much of this has to do with its publisher. I am a huge fan of Melville House when they're publishing nonfiction Melville House is the home of the mighty Trevor Paglen, after all , but my excursions into their fiction catalog have always left me less than satisfied.

You will think you know what the title of The Weirdness signifies relatively early on. Billy Ridgeway, struggling writer well, he still believes so and neurotic, wakes after a long night of drinking with his best friend Anil and meditating on the presence of bananas at bodegas to find the devil in his living room. No soul-stealing required, the devil explains while sipping coffee which turns out to be infernally good ; perform one minor task and Lucifer will put a few words into a few ears, and poof, Billy Ridgeway will be a published novelist.

It's a tempting offer. But then, as Lucifer reminds Billy a few times during the novel, that's what the devil does; he tempts people. The question is—does temptation trump neurosis? There's more going on under the hood here as well. Ridgeway's relationship with an experimental filmmaker has stagnated, and he finds himself scrambling to save it while at the same time being drawn to a poet who's the co-headliner at a reading that goes disastrously awry. There's a faction called the Right-Hand Path who gets involved. This is not a spoiler if you're not up on your demonology.

How does all this tie together? Well, like I said, you think you know what the title signifies. Trust me on this Bushnell never loses command of his wildly-careering plot, his characters are well-drawn and distinct, and the book's comic timing is never lees than impeccable. It's fast, it's funny, it's more than a bit ridiculous, but above all, it's just plan weird. I'd call that a success.

Paperback Editions

May 28, Tanya rated it it was amazing. I'm slightly infatuated with this book, and by slightly infatuated I mean I want to have it's Neko babies. I don't want to give anything about the book away since part of the reason it's so awesome is the not knowing part so I'll just say this is a fun, quick read that's worth your time.

May 08, Don Allen rated it liked it. This is my first review, and I have no idea how to make it good or useful to anybody. Maybe just think of this as notes to myself, so I can remember how I felt about this book right after finishing it.

Questions?

It was a pretty good rollercoaster ride. Had to look it up. But was it really good? What does it really do? Not This is my first review, and I have no idea how to make it good or useful to anybody. Not that any entertainment needs to do anything more than entertain. I really like my entertainment to invite me to think. So bottom of the list is not oblivion. But, so you understand, here are three titles above it on the current stack, listed according to ascending enjoyment for me. All of these seem to me to deal with the same Big Issues noted above.

Penumbra's Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Also a bit of a rollercoaster, a bit more literary well, it has to do with a bookstore… , a bit more of a puzzle Weirdness is too all-over-the-map to be a puzzle , good conspiracy stuff, maybe a bit more character development.


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Mr Golightly's Holiday by Salley Vickers. Not a rollercoaster, but more of a British who done it cum domestic melodrama. No real conspiracy stuff. This one snuck up on me. Great conversation between Lucifer and God at the end.

Kindle Editions

It's not just one ride; it's a whole amusement park. It definitely hits all the categories on the list above. Mar 04, Alyisha rated it liked it Shelves: Well, that was just a lot of fun.


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It took a questionable turn at the end. It just felt a little overdone and warranted the briefest of eye rolls before I accepted it and moved on. It worked for the plot, so whatever. I didn't approach this book looking for perfection or enlightenment; I was just along for the ride. If you like self-deprecating humor, moral ambiguity, recreational drug use, a 3. If you like self-deprecating humor, moral ambiguity, recreational drug use, and are constantly in awe of the weirdness present in both life and in fiction does life imitate art or does art imitate life?

You wouldn't want to be put in the awkward position of pledging your undying fealty to the Devil just to get a fix. We all know where that road leads. May 22, Jodi rated it it was ok.

Salman Rushdie on identity politics, trigger warnings and the weirdness of reality

I want the time I spent trudging through this book back. It started out campy then segued into the ridiculous. The author didn't make me care about the characters. Plus, he tossed too much stuff in. First the devil, then hell wolves. Also, IMO, there was way too much question mark usage, as well as every expletive known to man. It was like listening to teenaged boys speak.

I'm sorry I didn't just put the book down sooner. Oct 01, Absinthe rated it liked it Shelves: An entertaining read with a taste of allegory, The Weirdness definitely lives up to its name. I enjoyed this short read, though it is definitely not for everyone. Rating the writing is a bit difficult because you can't be sure if the strange structuring of the story is supposed to mirror the bizarre plot line or if it is due to a lack of skill.

But hey, just don't think about it and the book will probably be an enjoyable experience. Nov 27, gina rated it it was ok. I thought it might be entertaining. I suppose my expectations were met? I was occupied for a few hours, although I really did want to stop reading on multiple occasions.

The Weirdness

This book wants to be a terrible movie more than it wants to be a book. Aug 28, Terrence rated it really liked it Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm going to do a rolling review I update to motivate me to finish this one quickly and remember character names Bushnell's The Weirdness intrigued me mostly because of the Lucky Cat symbol on the cover.

At first it appears cute, but it is a bit devious if you look at its eyes and the red star on its collar. To begin I'm going to do a rolling review I update to motivate me to finish this one quickly and remember character names Bushnell's The Weirdness intrigued me mostly because of the Lucky Cat symbol on the cover. To begin our adventure, we meet the oddly inquisitive Billy holding a banana and wondering where these fruits come from in the dead of Winter apparently he spent some of 20 minutes staring at the bushel.

It's early, but I'm enjoying the author's ability to spin a yarn and work in seemingly insignificant real world stuff like conversations about bananas, mention of Captain Crunch, and discussions of films that feel like a "malignant drug". I like Billy's oddness and questioning nature, along with how people interact with him so far even though he's weird, he can function in their society and carry on conversations. This story is adult in nature with curse words and explicit subject matter. As chapter 1 ends we meet Lucifer briefly.

Billy's personality is a bit more down to Earth here as he contemplates the best position to stand in order to fend off an attack. I love Billy's crassness in the scene characterized by the repetition of obscene language to describe the awesome coffee and what he may have to do to defend himself.

Again, no clue where this is going. Just the mix of everyday sort of characters with bizarrely presented scenarios of dark humor that still remain domestic or casual in nature. Like the devil being taken as a home intruder and then he carrying on a conversation in an innocent fashion, the main character debating calling the cops like this is a scenario he could control with police protection, the reaction to the devil pulling some switches on his mind to be to debate jumping out the window at the risk of a broken bone. It's just very fun, zany, but also enjoyable to read, with a good flow to the dialogue.

Yup, I like this author. I'd totally be throwing around Stanislaw Lem references in my fiction loved Eden and enjoyed the film version of Solaris. Ansil is actually his coworker, his boss being the Greek, Giorgio. In addition we meet an interesting character named Ghoul, aptly named for his bony facial appearance.

I was surprised how friendly Ansil gets on with Billy, and their relationship spans 10 years. When Billy brings up his devil story, his friends are there to persuade him to see things in a different light; perhaps it was a trick by a friend of his roommate Jorgen. The end of the chapter happenings felt a bit rushed I guess, introducing us extremely briefly to this literary blog or something Bladed Hyacinth , run by a jerk named Anton Cyrrus, reporting on some upcoming reading Billy was to read at Ingot Reading.

So the devil reenters Billy's apartment, almost like he never left. I love Billy crying about disliking eggplant how does he even know he is supposed to like it to begin with? Should we not buy the devil's brain switch thing, or maybe he needed to tinker more to remove all desire for eggplant than just making it taste off. Chapter finishes with us learning the Devil's goal, to get Billy to obtain this lucky Neko statue stolen from hell by a Warlock named Timothy Ollard that could destroy the world.

The Devil's goals are of course selfish, to see humanity as a species continue so he can have more fun tempting humans. Billy of course is going to delay his acceptance of this until the last minute. We close with Billy reading an ominous detail from the female poet speaking at his reading about "deleted world". Billy of course is too hung over to even attempt to read poetry, not that it seems he could if he were sober.

Overall, ok set up chapter I read it a bit in parts; there is a bit of recall involved in the chapter that I kind of forget, like why a Wiki page was open to dogs. Chapter 5 We see Billy visit the location the devil specified for Ollard's hideout, the mansion hidden under a trick of the eyes technique where you have to converge your eyes to see the true form.

Billy proceeds to go to the bar early to get ready for his reading, and meets the female poet who will also be reading, Elisa. She says she also caused the death of a man she says she did it, but who knows what the circumstances were. As we close the chapter and enter chapter Chapter 6 Billy walks into the bar where they will perform awkwardly staring at Elisa for a brief instance, but in the next instance he locks eyes with Denver. This exchange and what happens after and into chapter 7 seems to be part of a big series of misunderstandings and troubles for Billy.

Billy's friends show up, and along with Denver, try to coax him out of telling a story improvizationally. Unfortunately Billy has no choice but to go improv because he left his stories in a bag back at the bar he talked to Elisa with told a story about Denver getting flustered from Billy playfully throwing bedsheets on top of her while lying on the bed.

Billy's friend Anil tells him to tell the story about the devil, and after an embarrassing attempt at telling a story about heaven and shoe souls, he has the guts to tell the devils story with the devil in the audience even. In the process, Billy suspects this will make his friends even more resentful of him and his failings, and again, further misunderstandings. With Billy disappearing behind a curtain in the memory while Elisa literally disappears, the mages unable to track her, one could conclude they ran off with each other So yeah, story is picking up a bit. And while it sounds like Billy has a Charle's Dickens size load of problems chucked at him and the reader, it's still presented in a light enough tone, and there is hope, if only slightly, built up in some scenes though possibly just to be dashed later.

So Billy fails his mission for Lucifer, in the process losing not only the seal Lucifer put on him, but another one that his father apparently placed on him as well and taking a trip through the air and then being warped by Ollard. The devil specifically was tricking Billy into getting Ollard to remove said seal. Also, Billy can shapeshift, and so can't two of his other companions. I guess this plot could just be Billy going crazy on a hallucinogen, but eh. I was actually reminded of Billy from Slaughterhouse 5 when our Billy Ridgeway is trapped in an inescapable situation in an unfamiliar void with a woman that is not his true love interest Elisa.

Keith Ridgeway's intro was pretty amazing, though obviously we need to be suspicious of him. Post Text Questions The italicized questions come from the book itself: Where do the bananas in bodegas come from? What started to seem strange to you? I think of lots of dumb questions when I feel tired. What did you think about the role of religion in The Weirdness? This seemed more down to Earth, in spite of the devil being a character. Or do you think she had other motives? I think it was just the wolf thing, and she figured since he smelled like one, maybe she could confide in him about her and his troubles.

When Billy enters his first evil paranormal domain, for instance, he finds himself in a Starbucks. But upon ordering an Americano, Billy discovers the baristas are magically enslaved, their forced cheer belying an unholy terror.

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Or consider the blood-curdling living conditions of middle-class young adults in the outer boroughs of New York City: Billy himself lives with a roommate in a tiny loft and sleeps above the kitchen in full sight of anyone who walks past. These crowded spaces make Hades itself seem like a welcome and capacious respite.

Thank goodness — or darkness — for that. Get The Weekender in your inbox:. You could get your book published. Added to the mix is the Northeast Regional Office for the Right-Hand Path, an international conglomerate of witches and warlocks. This is all played for arch comedy in the vein of Christopher Moore or S. This is long before Billy and a companion are transformed into sex demon wolf things, mind you.

The Weirdness: A Novel The Weirdness: A Novel
The Weirdness: A Novel The Weirdness: A Novel
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The Weirdness: A Novel The Weirdness: A Novel
The Weirdness: A Novel The Weirdness: A Novel

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