I Heart Oklahoma by Roy Scranton [6/10]

Roy Scranton spews lyricism like a soul-shattered dragon, whether in his war-tossed or apocalyptic nonfiction or his in his fiction. “I Heart Oklahoma” is his wildest outing yet and it’s a ride straight out of the playbook of the Beat poets, or at least my memory of that reading, so long ago. Our hero Suzie is a gifted, jaded wordsmith who signs on for a road trip though America’s bizarre heartlands, hired by dipshit-cum-crazy-cum-inspired video artist Jim, accompanied by cameraman Remy. Scranton’s machine-gun poetic vision of this road trip is highly engaging, like a feverish dream, yet in a blink the road trip dissolves into a reimagining and further reimagining of some mythical Bonnie-and-Clyde butchery from America’s past, Suzie’s storytelling spooling and respooling a chronicle of violence. If Scranton failed to write this on speed, he should have, because it’s a spellbinding blur. if in the end I failed to connect to either the story or the characters, the author’s vision of modern nightmare offered a compelling read.

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