It is time to spread good cheer and do some straight-pimping. Er, not the kind of pimping where you exploit young runaways on the streets of Hollywood, because, ew. Nor will you be modding someone’s “whip” with an PS3 and rocket boosters and a fully-operational 7-11 in the trunk. No, this is the type of pimping where you say, “Hey, you should check out [INSERT THIS THING HERE].”
Here are the rules for this bout of pimpage.
You may pimp yourself but you must also pimp another.
So, you can say, “I just wrote a biography of Burger McGoob, daredevil ukelele player known for his invention of the nipple clamp in 1932, but first let me tell you why you should check out the masterpiece work of my pal…”
I’m going to tell you right now to run out and read the novel White Horse, by Alex Adams.
I have the fortune of reading many great novels these days, sometimes ones sent my way by folks who would like to be interviewed here at Ye Olde Blog. This is just such a novel (and be advised: tomorrow you’ll see the interview with Alex). White Horse is a novel of a woman, a pandemic, an apocalypse, and a (mostly) unfulfilled love. It’s grim, beautiful, horrific, funny, sweet, and sad.
I have this problem when I read books where, generally, the only time I get to read is in bed at the end of the day, and with even the best novels I have to fight the urge to sleep to push forward into the story.
I did not have this problem with White Horse. The language pulled my hair. The story dragged me along. Zoe, the protagonist, demanded I watch her every step. The book was, in many ways, like being duct taped to an actual white horse just before someone kicked it in the ass and made that sonofabitch run.
Now, here’s the thing. I have this book Blackbirds, which I’m sure you know about because, well, I won’t shut up about the damn thing (now with 82 very positive reviews at Amazon!).
Blackbirds and White Horse are spiritual cousins of one another. They share artistic heritage.
Both released in April, 2012.
Color + Animal. White horse. Black bird(s).
Both written in the present tense. In fact, in White Horse, Adams uses a convention where each sub-chapter is labeled either THEN or NOW, so you bounce back and forth between what happened and what is presently happening. An earlier draft of Blackbirds had exactly this (the Interludes now tell the “THEN” story, for those who have read the book).
Both are also written with an eye toward indulgent metaphors — I saw a review the other day that called Blackbirds one of the most language-drunk novels she’d ever read, and I would say the same thing about White Horse. Adams puts images and ideas together in ways that do not merely dazzle but actually create a more complete and powerful sensation — it makes the story feel all the more real and surreal.
Both feature “strong” female protagonists. Both survivors.
Both are “road” novels — they are about a journey, a journey based on love.
Both are also very much about death — death a hunting, haunting specter in each.
Both feature pregnancy in important roles.
Both feature a sinister European villain (Ingersoll versus “The Swiss”).
Both feature some really, really fucked-up scenes of horror and yet, at the same time, manage to be funny. (Well, I don’t know that Blackbirds succeeds — that’s on you to decide. But White Horse really is.)
Both are genre-agnostic. They cannot be easily pinned to a single genre.
Both have sequels coming out. (Red Horse / Mockingbird).
Go buy White Horse. You will not regret that decision.
Anywho. There’s my pimpage. Go forth and bring your own.
One for you.
One for someone else.
Happy Fourth of July.