John Jaggo, of course, is long dead. He did, however, come up with an ingenious way to preserve his thoughts about his rough daily life circa 2011-2012—an electronic diary, unearthed by future geologists-cum-psychologists, which becomes the narrative of this intriguing novel by Ann Sterzinger.
We peek in on John’s life as he directly addresses future generations (often as “Future” or “You Bastards in Futureland,” and the like) with his missives on everything from love to politics to insane amounts of beer consumption. Jaggo struggles and whines (and whines) mightily through his minimum-wage existence until a projection of his bitterness and anger—is it real? A ghost? A delusion of his beleaguered mind?—appears on the scene in the form of a disgusting animani named Bertram. (An “animani” being loosely defined as a ghost-like demon, sort of.) Bertram haunts the second half of the novel until the explosive and surprising conclusion to the narrative.
Sterzinger’s ability to stretch out the tension of the drama in the novel’s second half is impressive—almost as much as her ability to capture the essence of the minimum-wage life, in all of its frustrating nuances, in the first half of the book. Her ability to capture realistic dialogue is equally impressive. And when the action gets going, you realize she has a keen ability to plot like a devil as well.
All in all, a compelling, quick, and page-flipping read, with deep insights into the mind of a kind of character most often forgotten, or tripped over, in our bling-worshipping society.
You may purchase THE TALKATIVE CORPSE by doing the click thing here.
You may listen to an interview with author by clicking here.
And you can purchase THE WHIRLIGIG, which features 5(!!!) of Ann’s great short stories by clicking like crazy right heah.