Tuesday, May 28, 2013

4 Heart Review: Blubber Island by Ismael Galvan

Blubber Island
Ismael Galvan

Page Count: 195

Release Date: 22 August 2012
Publisher: self-published
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Blubber Island is a philosophical, dark comedy written in the genre of gutter surrealism.

The story centers on a cast of unique characters struggling to maintain and disrupt the fabric of reality. Using a blend of the outrageous and metaphysical, the question is asked: Is human freedom better off without reality?
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Blubber Island was an experience. Gory and action-packed, Galvan's debut is no literary masterpiece, but I was mildly amused by the length of creativity put into the fantastical storyline.

We all know what surrealism texts are like, but this is not surrealism: it's a self-coined genre: gutter surrealism. I was expecting a nittier and grittier Haruki Marukami, but that's not at all what I got.

There's a nice, clear start, but after a while, the plot gets jumbled and I got annoyed with the author's strong affinity for clichés and painfully imaginative, far-fetched analogies and similes, e.g.: "The plague stopped moving up the stairs like a stream of turds hitting a dam" and "His eyelids looked like two swollen vaginas" and the real humdinger: "Estrada's bobbling lollypop head exploded like a Mexican piñata stuffed with M-80s and pig assholes." The writing is tasteless and humorless; the tastelessness, I can appreciate, but the fact that nothing is ever remotely funny nor profound, is a bit irritating. Like this shouldn't be a book, just a bunch of inscribed doodles compiled into a 195-page ordeal.

This book had plenty of potential but the weak style and incomprehensible story disappointed me. Blubber Island needs a lot of cleaning-up to do if it wants to hit a responsive audience.


Occasional bouts of penetrating insight // Interesting first few chapters


In desperate need of an(other) editor // Painful clichés used // No foundation of structure, dialogue, grammar, or writing conventions, whatsoever, which impedes overall comprehension // Messy plot


"Chaos is only destruction and suffering about the half the time. The other half is peace, love, and substance abuse. It's the original condition of the universe. Chaos is what we came from, and it's what we live and what we'll return to."


Bizarre in the most delusional way, Ismael Galvan's Blubber Island is a grotesque, macabre mess of a tale about the role of reality (whatever "reality" may be) and the power of the human psyche. The feeble writing and irrelevant superfluity were exasperating, to say the least; unfortunately, I couldn't enjoy this one Americanflag

4 hearts: So-so; reading this book may cause wrinkles (from frowning so much) (x)