Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Dark Humour RUM HIJACK by @philmotel

Today’s team review is from Georgia, She blogs here https://www.georgiarosebooks.com

#RBRT Review Team

Georgia has been reading Rum Hijack by Phil Motel

Rum Hijack by [Phil Motel]

I enjoy stories told in the first person, I like getting right inside a character, being privy to all their thoughts and emotions and those of the unnamed narrator of this tale are extraordinary. Our protagonist believes himself to be the all-conquering author of a masterpiece of literary magnificence. The only problem being that he hasn’t written one word of it…yet. He lives an eccentric lifestyle in his flat and tries to channel his Grandfather’s spirit as if believing this will funnel some sort of divine inspiration that will overcome his writer’s block and allow his words to be unleashed upon the waiting world.

 I thoroughly enjoyed Motel’s writing. Graphically descriptive it’s sharply quick witted and highly perceptive of this would be writer’s unusual lifestyle. An emergency potato – why haven’t I ever thought of having one of those? I loved the dark humour throughout this tightly written story and there were many, many priceless moments which made up a fabulous read.

 Our narrator eventually comes up the name Inkker Hauser, in unusual fashion. His relationships are disastrous and you would never want to have him as your neighbour but I liked him very much. However, you do need to buckle up to take on the ride that is Inkker when he goes on a date with the lovely Tylissa.

 He drinks a staggering amount and wanting to impress her with his intellectual and literary genius spouts all sorts of what to most people would be nonsense but which Inkker is earnestly serious about – this ‘A psychonaut. A sailor of the soul, a navigator of the mind. I happen to be something of one’ is how he describes himself to her. As the drink takes hold his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and you can only sympathise with poor Tylissa and admire her tenacity for hanging on in there particularly when he does something that is a definite no-no in my book!

 Many pages of this darkly humorous novel are taken up with the date. That might seem like a lot of words just to describe a date but every one of them is needed in order to convey the sheer craziness as it descends into mayhem for Inkker. There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t like this narrator and yet I really do. In some bizarre way, considering how he behaves, he comes across as fragile and endearing and I feel protective of him, especially when he is aware of being mocked by others.

 Because it’s written in the first person we are exposed to his thoughts, feelings and anxieties and these show his vulnerability and increasing desperation as the night unravels. But nothing that has gone before compares to the pain you can feel Inkker going through when he meets his new neighbours.

They are, Claire, who calls him Inky, and Adrian, a writer of novels, and they invite Inkker to a flat warming party telling him to ‘dress fancy’ a term he misunderstands but I loved the amount of planning that went into his appearance.

 Inkker’s behaviour becomes increasingly wild. He’s banned from his local, The Laughing Goat, but when he goes to make the peace in an attempt to be allowed back in he can’t help but cause more trouble. His eccentric domestic habits become more and more surreal, I mean, the mannequin, what is going on there? Towards the end his violent thoughts and destructive actions escalate to levels that wreak havoc on his life and then there is a devastating setback for him, the desperate grief that follows all consuming. And you feel it, you really do.

 Excellently written I would recommend this to everyone who fancies reading something highly original and totally entertaining – and don’t we all want to do that? I truly hope to read much more from this terrific writer in the future.

Book description

A frustrated loner and book lover, convinced he is destined to write a best seller and become a literary legend – before even typing a single word – begins taking out his “writer’s block” on the local community.

Depressed and volatile, his explosive outbursts within the privacy of his own home begin to manifest in public as his increasing creative frustrations and disastrous romantic relationships pile up, causing him to become a source of amusement among the regulars at local pubs and bars – but who will have the last laugh?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rum Hijack by [Phil Motel]

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Dark Humour RUM HIJACK by @philmotel

Today’s team review is from Olga, she blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

#RBRT Review Team

Olga has been reading Rum Hijack by Phil Motel

Rum Hijack by [Phil Motel]

I freely chose to review an ARC copy of this novel. It came highly recommended, and it’s one of those books that I’m sure won’t leave anybody indifferent.

This is not a book heavy on plot. It is a novel narrated in the first person by a would-be writer stuck in writers’ block and seemingly unable to unleash the immense and unique talent for literature he believes he has. He uses all the tried and tested methods most readers will be familiar with (drinking heavily, navel-gazing, taking drugs, isolating himself, constantly trying to call the muses…) and some pretty unique ones (he is obsessed with submarines, and a particular Russian submarine disaster; he is also interested in air disasters; he has a penchant for peculiar interior decorating and a unique sense of fashion; he loves his fish and model-making [submarine again]). He adopts a variety of names and identities throughout the book, and seems intent on outraging and destroying things around him in frustration for not being able to create something, although when he dreams of literary fame, it isn’t what most people would think a writer would dream about.

Rather than helping, everything he tries seems to send him down a slippery slope of self-destruction (and a fair deal of vandalism and petty crime as well), and as readers, we are privileged witnesses of this journey towards… Well, if you read it you can decide by yourselves.

Although Bukowski has been mentioned in several reviews, the main character made me think of several books and authors I’ve read as well, some quite recently. He did remind me of the main character in Malibu Motel, who is so self-involved and unrealistic that he keeps digging holes for himself. Inkker (to give him one of his adopted names) has more insight (even if fleeting), and there is something more genuine about him, although he keeps it under wraps and well hidden. It also reminded me of Eileen and other protagonists of Ottessa Moshfegh’s work, but her characters are more extreme and even though less likeable, we normally get more of a background and a better understanding of where they are coming from. And, the way Inkker’s angry simmers and boils until it explodes in outrage, reminded me of a fantastic essay I read many years back by John Waters (the film director) called ‘101 Things I Hate’ published in his collection Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters. What starts like a list of annoying things Waters is sharing with us, gets more and more outrageous as he gets more and more irate, and you can hear him shouting at you from the page by the end. It’s impossible not to nod and agree at many of the items on the list, but there is something at the same time darkly funny and scary in the way his emotions run so raw and close to the surface.

The book is beautifully observed and written, although, of course, it being in the first-person and the narrator a pretty unreliable one, we have to take all his comments and his opinions with a huge pinch of salt, and that goes for his depiction of other characters (and there are a few: an indie writer —of all things— and his girlfriend, an elderly neighbour, the guests at a disastrous dinner party, the locals at a pub, a couple of women, one he had a one-night-stand with and one he goes on a date with…). As you might suspect from the description, he is not particularly skilled in the social graces either and that results in some scenes that feel like watching a train wreck. It’s impossible to look away even when you know it’s going to get ugly, and I’m sure some of them will remain imprinted in the minds of readers for a long time.

Rum Hijack, which was first published in two separate parts, is darkly comedic (his quips at most writers, especially at self-published ones, will be ‘appreciated’ by those in the profession although perhaps not so much by readers not familiar with Twitter or with indie authors’ marketing techniques), and although in the face of it there is nothing particularly endearing about the protagonist, there is such vulnerability, such contradictions (he is reckless but careful, anarchic but worried about getting caught, a self-proclaimed outsider but eager to be admired and loved),  such need, and such self-loathing behind many of his actions that it’s impossible not to keep reading about his adventures and hope that things might take a turn for the better.

This is not a book for readers eager for adventure and action, who love a complex plot and consistent characters. It is not for those who dislike first-person narrations or prefer clean, edifying and inspiring plots and messages. If you enjoy literary fiction, books about writing (or writers’ block), are eager to find new voices, and love your humour very dark, check a sample of this book. You will either love it or hate it (yes, it’s a marmite kind of book). It’s up to you.

Book description

A frustrated loner and book lover, convinced he is destined to write a best seller and become a literary legend – before even typing a single word – begins taking out his “writer’s block” on the local community.

Depressed and volatile, his explosive outbursts within the privacy of his own home begin to manifest in public as his increasing creative frustrations and disastrous romantic relationships pile up, causing him to become a source of amusement among the regulars at local pubs and bars – but who will have the last laugh?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rum Hijack by [Phil Motel]