The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada by Neil Randall
Have you read edition one of The Mark yet? If you haven't, definitely start with Neil Randall's piece, "Three Little Boys" because it's an excerpt of the (amazing) novel "The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada." Randall has appeared in multiple editions of The Mark, and for good reason. His writing immediately captures the attention of the reader and keeps it until the very end. In "The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada," we follow the title character through his life, starting as a young boy. Jacob is mistreated by almost everyone he's ever been around, and the novel revolves around how Jacob deals with this rejection. He doesn't take it very well, and tends to retreat into himself rather than deal with his feelings and speak up for himself. Though he was mistreated a lot as a child and young adult, towards the end, he finds people that wish to be kind to him. I like this novel a lot because it shows the reader that, even though it might seem like the world is out to get you, there is always good to be found. Jacob reveled in the rejection and darkness of his world, and it made him an alienated and sad person. I wonder, if he hadn't retreated into himself like he did, his story would be different?
That being said, I don't want you to think that this is some mushy, boring coming-of-age story that is no fun to read. Randall writes in a surrealist way that keeps your attention. If you want to know what I mean, check out "Three Little Boys" in edition one! What else do you have to look forward to in this book? A talking dog smoking a cigarette at a bar. The stories get to be strange at some points, but there's enough reality ingrained in them that the reader just kind of goes along with it. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a surreal coming-of-age story that grabs and holds your attention from the beginning to end. If you'd like to check it out, you can find it on amazon here: