Sunday, June 20, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 137 (6/20) -- High Soft Lisp by Gilbert Hernandez

Between 2004 and 2006, Gilbert Hernandez produced a group of stories -- mostly under the overall title "Dumb Solitaire," and all appearing in Love & Rockets -- about motivational speaker Mark Herrera. His fourth wife -- lisping, massive-breasted psychologist-cum-B-movie-queen Rosalba "Fritzi" Martinez, part of the massive family tree of Hernandez's central character Luba -- threatened to take over the stories, and was central in many of them. And now, several years later, those stories have been collected (along with 2001's "The High Soft Lisp," which tells the story of Mark and Fritzi in the most detail) have been collected into a package that, inevitably, ignores Mark almost entirely.

Hernandez seems to be mostly interested in characters these days, in setting them up and seeing what they do, so High Soft Lisp wanders in and out and around the lives of Mark and Fritzi without providing any real structure to their stories. Both of them get married several times, with varied levels of success, and Fritzi has plenty of sex with other men as well (particularly when she's young). The center of the book is their connection -- Mark is often the narrator, and, even when he isn't, we're still seeing Fritzi and the world through his eyes. Otherwise, High Soft Lisp is yet another piece of the ever-expanding and -proliferating story of Hernandez's fictional world: not entirely able to stand alone, and shaped oddly in places, but undeniably compelling and possessed of the weird connections and unlikely juxtapositions of real life.
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
Listening to: Titus Andronicus - Waking Up Drunk
via FoxyTunes

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