Fear and Loathing meets Ironweed - a hilarious heroic journey on the skids
I hardly know where to begin. The most off-putting first chapter you'll ever be hooked by? The most offensive protagonist you'll ever love? The most revolting cast of wretches you'll ever stand up and cheer for? I just finished reading THE LONG DRUNK, and I honestly don't know which of us is more appalling: Eric Coyote for writing this bodily-fluid-soaked misadventure or me for loving it.
Coyote very wisely opens with a poetically vivid glimpse of Venice's underbelly before plunging us into the unfiltered conversations and filthy hand to mouth existence of Murphy, the damaged anti-hero, and his fallen crew. If I hadn't had that preface - that initial assurance that, yes, this is an incredibly talented writer - I wouldn't have made it through the first chapter. Not a punch is pulled, not a frack is given, not a politically correct construct is spared. Murphy is on a noble quest, but what makes this character impossible to quit on is the heartbreaking honesty with which he recognizes his own impossibly effed up limitations.
As an editor, there are some passages and technicalities I would have loved to get my hands on, but the storytelling is sure and audacious, and ultimately, as difficult as it is to read at times, the physicality and pathos are exactly what's needed to expose the true soul of this novel: a grittily horrid heroic journey that made me laugh out loud, fight tears, hug my dog and take a long, hot shower.
Highly recommended but not for the prissy.
Originally posted on Amazon.com as Joni L. Rodgers