The Losers’ Club – Richard Perez

“I had other plans.  Huge ambitions: being a complete masochist.  I wanted a life full of perpetual failure and disappointment – so I chose the ‘art life!'”

La vida es una miseria (Life is a misery)

This book is about me!  Or rather, it could be.  It’s strikingly similar to my life, it must be a common rut to be in, seeing as there’s a popular book about it, though I have never met anyone similar myself before.  And neither has our man from The Losers Club.
Even his idea of meeting someone similar to himself by looking for Bukowski in a poetry section in a bookshop, this exact idea has crossed my mind before.  When he got there no one was about until a young lady approached and asked if he worked there, he replied no, but I may be able to help anyway? And she just guffawfed and dismissed him.  He assumed she was looking for some current best seller by some trendy poet everyone was currently reading and told her they were by the till.  And off she trotted.
He found a girl he connects with, with similar interest and a job she enjoys – which is something he admires, but he can’t have her.  She’s a lesbian.  I know who I want and I can’t have him either, because he is a lesbian! So many similarities!…  The character is just a year older than me too, though that’s where the similarities end, I still felt myself getting drawn in.  Feeling ashamed and embarassed and on edge just reading the bloody book, as if the events in it were actually happening to me.

The first page of the book is these two quotes:

People say that what we are all seeking is a meaning for life.  I don’t think that’s what we are really seeking… I think what we are seeking is an experience of being alive. – Joseph Campbell

We are here to laugh at the odds… – Charles Bukowski

The story is about a struggeling writer, whos time is eaten up in a crappy job / ‘life-wasting occupation’ as a shipping clerk, who’s resorted to finding romance and friendships through personal ads.  The character is of similar age to me, so it’s quite happiness enducing to read this blurb on the back

“A story of youth, very well told”

youth!  Ahh the pleasure of still being youthful.  So basically, if you read the back cover

“The Losers’ Club is a vibrant and hopeful anthem for all us ‘losers’ who choose not to wallow (for too long!) in our despair and who find the will to keep searching.” – Heather Lowcock

There are a couple of poems credited to Martin in the book, one is:

Tears

Sister…
What
might
soothe
those
saddened
cheeks?

Tears,
maybe
tears.

What
might
burn
away
those
parasitic
fears?

Tears,
sister,
maybe
tears.

What
might
fill
those
hollow
days,

those
vacant
weeks?

Tears,
sister,
maybe
tears.

And

what
might
wash
away
those
wasted
years?

Tears,
sister,
maybe
tears.

The
touch
of
tears
might
soothe
those
saddened
cheeks.
And
tears
might
burn
away
those
parasitic
fears.

Tears
might
fill
those
hollow
days,
those
vacant
weeks.

And
tears
might
wash
away
those
wasted
years.

But

what

might
dull
the
sharpened
pain?

which is followed with

By 2am Martin was so headstuffed and drunk he could barely manage to tear up his latest attempts at poetry.

Ha.  Identifiable.

Through personal ads Martin found Nikki, who is perfect for him, except she’s a lesbian.  Nikki has written a novel with the theme of how rarely-even people in love ever seem to connect.

It was again another opportunity for him to asses his feelings, to marvel at the weird progress of their relationship.  Whereas the first time he had met Nikki-especially upon first seeing her- he had felt more than a bit anxious, a tad insecure (thinking to himself, I’m way in over my head: she’s way to… way too…), he now had to admit he felt (for some unkown reason), an odd closeness: a peculiar ease in being next to her, almost as if he were waking to recall that they’d already known each other for years.  Somehow, almost at once it seemed, they’d struck a kind of resonace.  Call it chemistry, call it luck, it was the first time he’d been around someone so attractive and complex and not felt an overwhelming desire to hide.  Martin went with it, not even having to pretend, to “cover up”.  In fact, the truth was, it was no effort at all; that was the strange thing.  Already he felt he could be himself around her; and more importantly now, around her, he liked who he was.

They have a lot of interests and ideas in common and chat about:

“We can all get sanctamonius and say that most other people spend their lives pretending.  Living out deceptions.  But who’s to say we’re not all faking it, lying to ourselves, in one way or another?”

and how they dont ‘get’ artists with kids, assuming they just selfishly use them as material for their art like Nico recording her son’s heartbeat after an overdose so she could use it as a gimmick on a record (Martin’s Mother also having been a poet).  One of the women Martin dates that contacts him from a personal ad is a poet with a kid who lives with her aunt and uncle and for their first date arranges to meet him at her parents graves and immediatly kisses him.  Another is Lola, a painter who is a student living at her with her mother.  After an awkward date at a cafe where she reveals she thought her mum was trying to murder her after her dad left them, so she stopped eating and ended up in hospital, Martin quietly asked the waiter for the bill but ended up back at hers where he asked her to show him some of his paintings

His eyes widened in regarding the work: two canvasses-both portraying, in startling hyper-realistic detail, nightmarish scenes of intense psychopathic violence.
In the first entitled “Pig Party”, several NYPD officers were shown gruesomely dismembered, the amputated limbs of one cop brutally wedged up his own obscenely stretched rectum.  In the other, untitled, a white-haired girl in pigtails sat dreamily on a curb, sit of a horrific traffic accident, munching human entrails like raw link sausages.  In her lap, like a grinning moon, a severed head.  Carved on the forehead was a tiny cross and, just above it, the word, “Lolita”.
Both canvases were slathered in blood red from top to bottom.

All in all an enjoyable book, it was nice to be entertained and distracted characters with interests and opinions, and similar troubles.  But a bit depressing after realizing that this character which was created to depecit this rut is better off than me; has his own place to himself, lives in a city with a vast array of characters, creativity, interesting clubs and pubs, cafes and hangouts and has friends willing to hang out whenever he fancies and the frequent time and company of the person he adores.  This left a bad taste in my mouth.

My favourite quotes from the book:

One association led to another until at last, surfacing through a host of dim recollections, one memory took color and came into view.  Growing at one brighter and clearer…

Her dark eyes begging

Were it not for that rusted window guard, she might’ve fallen too.  Dropped down and down in slow motion, five full stories, arms flailing, legs kicking wildly-her head smacking the sidewalk and splitting open like a ripe watermelon-brains and bitterness splattering for yards!

and the best quote:

It was like some hallucinatory, adolescent wish-fulfillment fantasy with women cast as angels of mercy and understanding.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Literature. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s