Gaius Julius Mahler is a thirty year old bipolar pianist who exists in three states: Mania- when he is possessed of enough energy to stay awake for five straight days, playing piano, getting high, and finding unprotected sex in any location he can get it; Depression- where he wallows in his old familiar friend pathos and allows himself to be weighed down by his parents’ suicides, the miseries of his own failings, and the iniquities done unto him; and the Middle- that purgatory known as Des Moines where he is capable enough of function, but is buried under enough phobias and anxieties to leave him socially crippled. His roommate is the ghost of Ludwig van Beethoven, and he is quite aware that it is a hallucination, but he finds Ludwig’s presence rather comforting even though the composer is often quite annoying.
Gaius is currently in the middle, waiting to see which direction the conductor will send him next: an accellerando to mania or a diminuendo to depression, when his few friends give him an odd impetus to head out and socialize. Certain that any societal contact will send him spiraling into a depression (and seeing nothing wrong with that- the middle can be awfully tiresome), he instead meets a girl named Lenore and goes on a manic trip through a night of zombie waiters, sentient hamburgers, stormtroopers in ambulances, shifts in planetary gravity, Papageno from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and the moon, which he stole from the night sky.
I’d like to start by saying the story surprised me. Mostly because going into I wasn’t sure how all of the pieces were going to fit into the overall puzzle. After a bit of a rocky start, the story picks up pace and goes into overdrive. Gauis is a sort of sad character but he endears himself to you somehow. Especially after he meets Lenore. It is an odd but interesting story. Melding music with mental illness. Not to mention if breaks the fourth wall. It made me laugh out loud a few times. As the first installment of this dark comedy, it finishes with a bit of a non-ending, but I’d be interesting in reading the next one. An intellectual read with a trippy feel.
A dark comedy that after a confusing start evens out and takes you on one wild ride!
Where did I get a copy?
From the author. This is a voluntary review.