Review from a Transgressive Fiction Fan

I started out reading this book and thought I knew what to expect—how things would unfold and how the story would take shape—and then about halfway through I realized I knew nothing. I was uncomfortable, disoriented, and had the feeling of being in a carnival funhouse where there’s a crazy warped mirror around every turn.

And I loved every second of it.

Max Kindred has managed to pull off the almost impossible feat of invoking the ghost of the voice of William S. Burroughs to an eerie degree, while also maintaining an impressive commitment to the authenticity of his own. In Trip the Light Fantastic, we meet four very different characters who take us on a brutal yet intimate ride of how they experience “the Valley,” a place that seems to be, on the surface, part of the city of Los Angeles and what most of us think of when the term is used—packed with wannabe models and actors, celebrity culture, and lots and lots of sex and drugs. But as we ride along with each character’s POV it becomes ever more clear that “the Valley” in this case might be that, but it is also much more. The Valley gradually morphs into a haunting and twisted Hell world, where reality plays on a loop and, it appears at times, that everyone is already dead.

In the spirit of the very best of transgressive fiction, Trip the Light Fantastic pushes all the boundaries and uses sick humor and violence to test the reader when they’re least expecting it. However—also in the spirit of the best transgressive fiction—it reveals the insane beauty to be found when we decide to dig into the dark side of life. The way in which Kindred uses language is so creative and original I was left more than impressed, and definitely in awe of his talent.

For those who are fans of Burroughs’ Cities of the Red Night and Bret Easton Ellis’s Glamorama, Max Kindred’s Trip the Light Fantastic is a real find. I would also recommend to anyone interested in transgressive fiction as a genre, as it showcases some of the most intriguing themes of the transgressive tradition.

“Insightful” Review from a Mainstream Reader

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