"A Blind Eye to the Rearview" Book Review
Written by Eric A. Jackson
2012, 90 pages, Fiction
Released on April 20th, 2012
"This morning my past swaggered up to the breakfast nook and grabbed a chair next to me, told me I ought to go fuck myself."
You can go ahead and add that sentence from Eric A. Jackson's A Blind Eye to the Rearview to the short list of outstanding first lines that punch you in the brain. Luckily, the rest of the book shares the same combination of interesting, surreal, gloomy and chronologically-screwed mayhem.
In A Blind Eye to the Rearview, Jebediah Crane comes back from a trip to the bathroom to find a note on top of his cigarette pack. He's in a bar, so anyone could've left it. The note orders him to kill his own father within twenty-four hours or be killed himself. Jebediah revisits some of the abuse he received from him, including getting hit so hard with a golf club that he lost an eye. The painful memories help him make up his mind. However, there's a problem: his old man has been dead for over a decade. Not deterred by the impossibility of the task, Jebediah sets out to find whoever wrote the note. His quest takes him into the darkest corners of his psyche and the past. With the clock ticking, Jebediah enters a world full of ghosts, regret, pain, awkward situations, and questions. The journey will come to a bloody end, but in order to chose who bleeds, Jebediah first has to revisit his past and find some answers within himself before time runs out.
The first thing that needs to be said about A Blind Eye to the Rearview is that Jackson's prose is a delightful and raw mix of noir, literary flair, and horror. When you have a man struggling with his sanity, it's hard to keep readers entertained and even harder to keep them guessing, but the author pulls off both. However, that's not the most impressive thing about the narrative. A truly remarkable aspect of this story is how chronological order, truth, and reality, all of them problematic in many ways, are viciously twisted and violently hacked until they seem to disappear, but they somehow remain an essential part of the story and even make sense.
There are horror, noir, supernatural and even a few humorous elements seamlessly weaved into the narrative. This plurality makes A Blind Eye to the Rearview hard to categorize, but it also means fans of a variety of genres can find something they like. Also, Jebediah Crane is an incredibly complex, darkly humorous and likeable character. Even though the reader knows Jebediah's sanity is not intact, his straightforward approach to the situation and the fact that he's as puzzled as the reader make him a memorable character that's hard not to root for.
By the time the story comes to its resolution, even more doors are thrown open and new questions arise. There is nothing predictable about this book, so the ending feels very appropriate.
A few months ago, I told you to keep an eye on Abattoir Press's Sam Truman series. Now, if Jackson's work is any indication of what's to come from their novellas, I strongly suggest you put that on your radar as well.