|Happy Talk, a novel
by Richard Melo, imagines a star-crossed love affair in the Haiti of
1955 under the auspices of a U.S. Government plot to re-create Haiti as
the next Hawaii.
Gun-slinging American student nurses and boozy-NYC-playwrights-turned-educational-filmmakers can't wait to get off the Magic Island, while their directive to create a film short promoting tourism turns into a fiasco. All the while, voodoo is in the air, manifested as ghostly drumming in the distance.
Front and center are Culprit Clutch, hero of anti-heroes, who appears mostly through rumor and innuendo, and whose intrepid adventures lead him to strange encounters with people not acting like themselves and Josie, his ghostly paramour with a morphine habit and who may or may not have voodoo spirits flowing through her.
The cast of characters includes a Scandinavian zombie, an ancient Egyptian phantom, a power-mad doctor channeling Baron Samedi and bent on Culprit's destruction, and Culprit's black sidekick who sees through it all (including his role as sidekick). The novel’s cascading epilogues include a legendary car race down the length of Mexico; street theatre in Golden Gate park, circa 1968; a Skylab mutiny; origins of the musical comedy Godspell; and cameos by the Nation of Islam and early followers of Jim Jones.
Written in the style of a 60s-era post-modern novel and driven by its Catch-22 style dialogue, Whack-a-Mole storylines, and Rice Krispies atmosphere, Happy Talk is a novel as picaresque as it is picturesque, knotty as it is naughty, scathing in its satire while loving at its core, lyrical, hallucinatory, and hilarious.
A P P Y T A L K
by Richard Melo
from Red Lemonade
Publishers Weekly writes, "Melo is a great spinner of yarns through polyphonic hearsay" in a glowing review.
Happy Talk about Happy Talk:
Book jacket reviews from Jonathan Evison, Monica Drake & Percival Everett
|Don't make hay . . .
O R D E R T O D A Y !