Kamikaze L'Amour

Overview

To start off the new century, rock sensation Ryder fakes his own death and checks into a sanitarium. Three weeks later, he takes off for San Francisco, where his first sight is a mangrove swamp that's the new northern tip of the Amazon rain forest. The surreal jungle is more appealing to Ryder than the media-overloaded rock world, and the fractal wilderness draws Ryder to it in search of such exotic flora and fauna as his identity, the true nature of sound and light, and that elusive bloom called happiness. ...
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1997 Hard cover New. No dust jacket. lt shelf wear...Book Is New! Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 228 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

To start off the new century, rock sensation Ryder fakes his own death and checks into a sanitarium. Three weeks later, he takes off for San Francisco, where his first sight is a mangrove swamp that's the new northern tip of the Amazon rain forest. The surreal jungle is more appealing to Ryder than the media-overloaded rock world, and the fractal wilderness draws Ryder to it in search of such exotic flora and fauna as his identity, the true nature of sound and light, and that elusive bloom called happiness. Kamikaze L'Amour is a fantastic melange, an experimental symphony resonating in a Ballardian landscape through which sleepwalkers, hustlers, refugees, and soldiers search for meaning in an America transformed into a synesthetic dream.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although set in a near-future in which most of California south of San Francisco has become rain forest, there's enough traditional narrative lurking in the pages of Kadrey's well-wrought second novel (after Metrophage) to make it appealing to others beside SF fans. The narrator, Ryder, is a rock star who describes himself as ``either crippled or blessed at birth with a neurological condition known as `synesthesia,'" a cross-wiring of the senses according to which he sees sounds. ``Mahler is a boiling red fog; Steve Reich is long silver rods; and the Velvet Underground's first album is black wax floating in a pool of mercury.'' Ryder, who has faked his own death to escape the rock scene, travels to San Francisco, where he befriends the musically talented Frida, who approaches the rain forest the way Ryder ``sees'' music. He also meets a shady promoter calling himself Virilio, who wants him to record publicly again, even as tapes of music he and Frida have produced from the sounds of the rain forest are mysteriously stolen. When Frida flees to the jungleland that was once L.A., Ryder and Virilio pursue her, leading to more strange encounters and a climax that is too quotidian for the zaniness that precedes it. Although the novel doesn't fulfill its implied promise of a gonzo ending, Kadrey offers a long, strange trip with many delights along the way. (June)
Carl Hays
Afflicted with suffocating depression and fed up with the fame game, rock star Ryder tries suicide and fails but discovers he prefers the media-tabloid version of his death, with its inevitable elevation of him to iconhood, to resuming his career. Vowing to discover the musical source of an epiphanous golden light that occasionally appears in his head due to his gift of synesthesia, or sensory crossover, Ryder retreats to San Francisco. There, due to a freak of nature or a genetic experiment gone awry, the Amazon rain forest is making inroads from its now normal dominion over the southern half of the U.S. Ryder then meets another disaffected musician, Frida, who samples jungle sounds to capture the ultimate in musical novelty, and a drug dealer who wants nothing more than to bring Ryder back to the music scene. Sparkling with biting satire and powerful, surrealistic rain forest imagery, Kadrey's novel is a brilliant meditation on contemporary cultural decadence. It deserves an audience much larger than that of only sf fans.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312131005
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.83 (w) x 8.49 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Kadrey
Richard Kadrey

Richard Kadrey has published four novels, including Butcher Bird, and more than 50 stories. His story Carbon Copy was made into the feature film After Amy starring Bridget Fonda. He lives in San Francisco, CA.

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