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Guest Review: The Jackalopians: A Modern Tail
Enoch Powell reviewing an indie absurdist comedy about modern life.
Foreword by Aristo: My good friend Enoch Powell (@mogtheurbanite) is a voracious reader. He takes a lot of chances on different books that don’t have much of a reputation yet. I was excited when he asked if he could review Jackalopians, as it’s a bit of a change of pace from our usual review fare of grimdark apocalyptic fiction, sci-fi, or fantasy. This is more of a light-hearted contemporary comedy, throwing jabs at Zoom meetings, Furries, and the absurdity of modern life. You can follow the author on Twitter at @jackalopians, I hope everyone enjoys the review!
As part of my recurring guest spot (as long as Aristophanes keeps tolerating me, that is), I read “Jackalopians: A Modern Tail” by Mark Marlow. I loved it and I think you will as well.
I’d hate to spoil this book for you, so I’ll keep it brief. Dan, a 20-something lawyer living in a soulless apartment in DC, splits his time between languishing in endless, meaningless white-collar work and wallowing in anguish over the sudden failure of his last relationship. Amidst that meaningless legal work, a chance encounter introduces him to James “Hajii” Leroux, who brings him into the eponymous secret society, “The Jackalopians”, half political cabal, half religion, operating in the middle of Washington DC.
“The Jackalopians” is, for a book that is outright hilarious at times, also a deeply sorrowful book. There is a good chance you will see elements of your own life, reflected back at yourself as you read through it. The story Marlow tells of how it tears at your soul to be in love with a feckless and faithless woman is too true to life for it to be anything but first-hand knowledge and the exploration of how one’s Faith is destroyed by corrupted teachers and a soulless society and the subsequent descent into nihilistic self-destruction is entirely accurate; that much I can say from personal experience.
It hurt me to read it; that pain is a large part of what makes Jackalopians such an outstanding story.
Having said that, don’t get the sense that “The Jackalopians” is a sad book. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. Marlow does an excellent job of weaving together sorrow and comedy and the end result is a book that really leaves a mark on the reader. Government witch hunts, Furry BDSM death squads, semi-mystic waitresses, purity spiraling autists, South American gentlemen of leisure, and motorcycle riding Boomerwaffen all come together in a great way.
How he managed to cram a perfect refutation of nihilism, sexual degeneracy, endless purity spiraling, idolatry, and essentially the entire American system into such a short book, I have no explanation for. But he did.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what his future books will be like.
The Jackalopians is, ultimately, a book about the battle a man will face to regain his soul in a word that has sold its own. Marlow has really threaded the needle with this book; if you’re one of our guys, then you’ll appreciate it just as much as I did.
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