by Terri Schlichenmeyer
‘Ghost Radio’ Sure to Scare: Leopoldo Gout’s first novel layers creepiness upon spookiness
If you could make a living doing anything you wanted, what would you do?
Maybe you’d let your imagination run wild and do something that no one ever thought anyone could make money doing. Perhaps you’d turn your hobby into a vocation; after all, it’s been said that he who loves his job never works a day in his life. Or maybe you’d just do whatever it is you do now, content with the way things are. Whatever your “dream job” is, be careful what you wish for.
In the novel “Ghost Radio” by Leopoldo Gout, a young man finds the job he was meant to do. And then the demons in his background find him.
When 16-year-old Joachin was involved in a car accident that killed almost his entire family, he barely grieved. Everything seemed so surreal: the crash, The Dead Kennedys song running through his head, the other boy who lived through the accident and who hummed that song aloud. When Joachin woke up in the hospital, the boy was waiting.
Badly injured in the same accident, Joachin and Gabriel became best friends. They were hospital troublemakers together, wheelchair racers and dreamed of the music they’d someday make.
When they finally were able to pull together a band, they were overjoyed to find fans for their death-music. They were so popular that when Gabriel found an old, abandoned radio station just across the border in Mexico, the boys broke in and started to broadcast illegally, just for their fans.
Joachin could barely think about that chaotic night: vicious guard dogs, doughnuts and a beautiful girl they both wanted, fans thinking the electrical surge that killed Gabriel was part of a song. When the police arrived, Joachin was near death and the girl was long gone.
But that was all in the past. Now Joachin had a job he was inspired to do back when he was in the hospital.
see bookworm page 15
continued from page 14
Ghost Radio was a night-time call-in program that featured “true” stories of the strange and paranormal. Ultra-hip Joachin was the host; his girlfriend, Alondra, his producer.
Lately, though, something was wrong. Someone kept calling Joachin on the air and at home, and the caller knew too much.
Reality was often altered. People who were dead were alive and people who were alive didn’t exist. Alondra wondered if Joachin was having a vivid dream. Joachin wondered that, too. It was all too weird. And then the phone rang …
Do you like to read before you fall asleep? Don’t grab this book then unless you welcome a bout of fear-induced insomnia.
Gout layers creepiness upon spookiness and broadcasts a good amount of uneasiness over his story until you, like his main character, Joachin, aren’t sure what’s real and what’s imagined. That will leave you with a nice unsettled feeling and a long wary look at the clock-radio near your bed.
“Ghost Radio” is Gout’s first novel and I can’t wait for his next. If you want a book that will scare you, tune into this one.
Panel to Panel
by Nathan Patton
“Travel”: Obsessed with design, architecture and the mundane
Yuichi Yokoyama is a genius. Or he’s the worst storyteller in the world. I haven’t quite made up my mind.
His second American release in as many years is just as brilliantly strange as his last. And just like in his 2007 release “New Engineering,” Yokoyama is more concerned with design than plot.
“Travel” is a wordless, essentially plot-less book focusing on three men as they board a train and ride it to their destination without incident.
I’m the only person I know that understood David Lynch’s “Mullholland Drive” on the first viewing, but if there’s some grand metaphor or theme in this book, I can’t find it. And yet, somehow, the book is still entertaining.
“Travel” is technically manga, but it shares almost nothing in common with any manga I’ve ever read. It has even less in common with American comics. It’s more like an Architecture Digest from the year 2050. The only American cartoonist I can compare Yokoyama’s work to is Chris Ware.
But even Ware usually has a story underneath his obsession with design, architecture and mundane events.
The real fun in reading this book is just getting a glimpse at how Yokoyama sees the world. The expressionless alien faces, ridiculous hairstyles, bizarre fashion and the furniture and technology that Yokoyama reinterprets are all fascinating to get a take in.
“Travel” is just as unique as it is pointless, just as trippy as it is mundane. It’s the most original work I’ve read in a long while and even though I don’t know any more about the world than before I read it, I can’t wait to see what Yokoyama does next.