"Hooray for Death!" Book Review
Written by Mykle Hansen
2011, 112 pages, Fiction
Released on November 3rd, 2011
Mykle Hansen is funny and witty, but in Hooray for Death!, the author's latest release with Eraserhead Press, humor and intelligence are just the tip of the iceberg. An unrelenting barrage of bizarre creativity makes reading Hansen's work a unique experience and this collection of short fiction will please fans of literature regardless of their preferred genre. A deconstruction of love, creativity, death and the ways we deal with it, Hooray for Death! brings together 12 short stories that showcase Hansen's knack for the unbelievably strange and his very entertaining prose.
The book kicks off with "1001 Things To Do Before, As, And After You Die." Basically an instruction manual for life and death, Hansen quickly hooks readers in with this one and never lets go. "Death And The Great Mechanico" follows with a surprisingly bittersweet tale about a man that has science eating out of his hand, but is still forced to deal with the fact that death always gets its way.
"Totally Cool Robots" keeps things rolling with a tale of friendship, bad decisions and the end of the world. Spanning the life of two guys who were friends as kids and then took very different paths, this one is anchored in the terrible and somewhat funny consequences of a robot future.
"Cheese And Cat Sandwich Stapled To Mayor's Face" is a flash fiction piece that pretty much follows its title. Don't worry, there is an option for vegetarians.
"Five Days Of Carrie" is a real treat for horror fans. Bringing together literature, torture and love, this one is anchored in a shared passion for the books, poetry, movies and mythical figure of Stephen King. If you've ever seen a Stephen King movie or know a die-hard King fan, this is a must-read.
"Blimpman!" is Hansen's version of a superhero/evil doctor story, which means there are walruses, hair-power, hydrogen airships, harpoons, pudding, action, witty dialogue and other assorted weirdness.
Up next is "How Can I Express My Frustration?," a deliciously nihilistic narrative that pokes fun at the aimless and unfocused state of angry discontent that some people seem to live in and which spurs a large percentage of the protest we witness or read about. The fast-paced and comical dialogue of "How Can I Express My Frustration?" is followed by 'Please, Do Not Rub The Clams," which is a short exposition on the benefits of Ethical Carnivism.
Returning to walruses, Hansen offers one of the best stories in the collection with "Sirens Of New Brunswick." What begins as a trip to the coast and a sandwich shared with a walrus quickly turns into a life-changing experience for Eustace Cudgeon, a man that might just not be a man after all. One of the weirdest love stories you will ever read, this one also packs some of the most poetic prose in Hansen's work. If nothing in the previous description appeals to you, I would still suggest reading the story just for the stream of ingenious insults.
"Stephen King Steals My Ideas" was my favorite tale in a collection with no letdowns. Famous Author Mykle Hansen is his brilliant self here, but he also channels Hunter S. Thompson a little. If you know who Stephen King is, you should read this story. If you don't know who Mykle Hansen is, you should read this story two times. If you're Stephen King, you wish you had written this story and you should read it three times.
"Hooray for Death!" closes with "I Cook The Robot Breakfast," which brings back some of that bittersweet aura of the first few stories with a narrative about a man who lives with a robot that helps him deal with the loss of his wife. In typical Hansen fashion, strangeness is celebrated here and the sadness is balanced by a good dose of humor.
Hansen's prose is like a powerful, ambidextrous boxer; it comes at you hard and from unexpected angles, leaving your brain dazed and full of adrenaline. Death might be a scary subject, but there's nothing to fear when it comes to Hooray for Death!: the book delivers solid entertainment. Pick up a copy today.