A woman makes up stories of the Devil's dad painting his portrait.1 A man has the idea for an indoor golf course. A substitute-teacher goes to a rough-and-tumble café and for the polka music. An Ordinary Boy realizes that he simply must be the Second Coming2. The Lost Episodes of Revie Bryson, the new book from Bryan Furuness perfectly captures that area of Northern Indiana known as “The Region,” with its feeling of empty space and jittery doldrum, where the mantra seems to be “Bizarre is better than boring.”
|The Golfdome is a primary set piece because even nature|
cannot stop a hoosier from golfing.
Furuness captures The Region4 with documentary precision. I’ve been to the Region, I’ve smelled its air, and it smells just like the words in Furuness’s book. I’ve been baffled by how fast children grow up there, how fast they have to. Revie is a perfect example of this. As the focus of the book, Revie is wonderfully genuine. His antics to sabotage his father’s diet, his escapade with the camels, his attempts to manipulate his parents back into a relationship all had me going yeah, that’s how a kid from the Region would act.
Burried in the fiction (which reads so much like memoir I had to keep reminding myself it was not, a la
Towelhead)5 is quite a lot of philosophical introspection, especially on
the nature of the universe, people, and religion. The book makes no firm stance on faith, but does a good job
portraying the faithful, from the priest who recurs as a sounding board for
Revie’s emotions to his Grandmother, whose imperious palm reading was either
dead on or way off. How you call
it says more about you than the character.6
|"The universe is like a Toilet: everything swirls together|
faster and faster in the end."
|"Anything that has Mass exerts Gravity. You have mass, right?"|
"I'm a Presbyterian."