- Author: Phil Conquest
- Published: September 2014 by Phil Conquest
- Category: Fiction, Dark Comedy
One day he will write the masterpiece that renders critics speechless and seats him on the throne of literary infamy.
It’s inside him…somewhere.
In the meantime, between going from one failed relationship to the next, he sits in his dead grandfather’s flat watching videos of nautical disasters, scorning bestselling ebook writers and searching for his elusive muse.
One day he will show them all.
All he has to do is write that first sentence…
Beginning with the violent demise of his computer by his own hand, or rather hammer, the unconventional and strange narrator drew me in almost immediately. He is a man of repetitive behaviours, habitual visits to the same few places and routinely eating the same food (potatoes and coleslaw for three weeks.) His extreme frustration at the lack of inspiration and the belief he is a literary genius, destined to write a masterpiece if only he could get past the dreaded writer’s block, jumps off the page. As soon as the intense excitement of creative power engulfs him, it’s gone leaving him out of touch with reality and reasoning that it ‘shows how potent and unstable a mix my talent is,’ which I think applies more to his balance of mind.
Living in his late grandfather’s flat surrounded by older neighbours, he feels isolated and lonely by design, yet needs emotional support. There are nine televisions usually on different channels balanced atop each other in his living room and scattered about the completely disorganised flat, among other things, are several model submarines, lights stolen from road works and a fish named Kursk, who he talks to affectionately. He often tries to commune spiritually with his grandfather..and his fish.
Sometimes I go into my grandfather’s old and now empty bedroom to meditate and try to attempt some sort of psychic connection with him, hoping he’ll come to me from the spirit world, to give me some sign or message to confirm that I am indeed destined for literacy notoriety.
Not helped by the ample quantities of alcohol he consumes, along with very strange eating habits, his agonising attempts to begin his masterpiece somehow make him quite engaging, regardless of his obvious dislike, and avoidance of, people in general and especially writers. Social media doesn’t escape his contempt and gets a severe verbal bashing. To confound even further, he goes out of his way to be kind to a lady in a charity shop, who is having a one-sided (naturally) conversation with a ceramic elephant. And when he finds a travel typewriter he’s sure it’s a sign. ‘It’s all in there, I thought. My book is in there somewhere.’
An unusual and cleverly written novella, it’s a dark, humorous and touching story. And in spite of, or perhaps because of, all the quirks and weirdness, the impossible highs and the desperate lows, he’s a compelling protagonist. I so want him to succeed before his tortured soul is pulled over the edge and into the abyss. Looking forward to the next instalment.
About the author
Phil comes from southern England and now lives in the US. He is a radical, innovative, avant-garde writer whose prose attracts readers every time it is encountered. His influences are many but he has been compared favourably with Rimbaud, Bukowski and Dosteovesky for his dark and earthy tales of outsiders on the edge.
Inkker Hauser Part 1: Rum Hijack, his debut on Amazon, is the darkly comic tale of a frustrated and slightly insane would-be writer who begins taking out his “writers’ block” on the local community. Inkker Hauser Part 2 is the follow-up and contains a hysterical, surreal and agonising karaoke sequence, which will probably never be equalled.
Rum Hijack was recently included in a list of the top 50 Best Indie books of the year in 2014.
Phil’s other main interests are music and basketball – and is a fan of the Chicago Bulls. His Bukowskiesque blog, Motel Literastein, about an Englishman living on the fringes of society and sanity in a motel in Philadelphia, is controversial, confrontational and cathartic, but never dull, beautifully written and well worth following.
He will probably never return home.