Monday, July 9, 2012

I Am (NOT) The Walrus by Ed Briant - Guest Post

I am NOT The Walrus
Ed Briant (website)
Publisher: Flux (July 2012. 228p. $9.95. ISBN 978-0-7387-3246-6)
Source: netgalley/BlueSlip Media
Genre: Realistic (Beatles cover band)
Rating: 3.5/5
Next Tour Stop: Guys Lit Wire
Buy it:  (Amazon | Indiebound)

I Am (Not) The Walrus by Ed Briant follows Toby as he tries to find the last legal owner of a p-bass fender caster guitar he is almost sure his brother stole!  In the meantime, he's got just enough time for his yet unnamed cover duo (The Nowhere Men? The Sand Tigers?) to open for the Disappointed Parents, fall in deep, deep like, and stay one step ahead of the guy who wears sunglasses at night.

 I'll review I Am Not The Walrus (and giveaway a copy!) on July 10, 2012 but for now Mr. Briant tells us where he got the idea for Toby's family background.  A background you can't fully believe!

I used to have this friend whose family was known as “the salt mine.” All of them, the mother, father, and three sons, were so devious, that everything they said had to be taken with––at the very least––a grain of salt, or preferably with an entire salt mine.

The funny thing was, though, they weren’t bad people, but they were just into deviousness. They were into deviousness like other families were into fondues, or snorkeling. If you pay a visit to a snorkeling family any conversation will soon veer towards subjects such as how cold the ocean is this year, or which of their friends have recently been carried off by barracudas. This family was the same. They just liked being evasive, even when there was no obvious reason for being evasive.

One summer I bicycled over to their house just as they were packing up the car to go on vacation.

“Where you off to?” I asked my friend.

He shrugged, then glanced over each of his shoulders in turn. I think he was making sure his parents weren’t listening. “Um . . . France,” he said, leaning close to me. “We’re going to France.”

I got back on my bike, waved at my friend and his parents, then said, “Bon voyage!” The parents gave each other baffled looks while my friend seemed suddenly fascinated by a gap between two slabs of paving on the sidewalk.

The next time I saw him, he was nicely tanned and it was two weeks later.

“Here,” he said. “Souvenir.” He tossed me a key ring with the word Spain stamped on it. I was just about to say I thought you were going to France, but I stopped myself.

What would be the point? It was just the way he was.

Ed Briant
We stayed good friends until a year later when he joined the army, and we lost touch. I heard through the grapevine that he’d ended up in Military Intelligence, which is a nice finish to the story. Now he can be as devious as he likes with the Russians, or the Iranians, or whoever we aren’t on good terms with at any given moment.

I suppose Toby’s family is a bit like that, especially his mom and his older brother. It’s not so much that they’re going to tell you blatant lies. It’s just that whatever they do tell you will be slightly off to one side of the truth.

For Toby’s friend, Zack it’s no big deal. He knows Toby and his family, and adjusts his expectations accordingly. For Toby himself, though, it is more of a problem. He’s on the rebound after being chucked by his girlfriend Katrina, and one of the reasons she gives for dumping him is that he’s dishonest. Toby, being a conscientious kind of bloke, takes this to heart and resolves to become meticulously honest from here on in.

But Toby’s resolve is put to the test when he encounters Rupert. Rupert’s a psychopath, and you can’t really tell a psychopath where you live, no matter how nicely he asks you, and Rupert doesn’t even ask nicely.

So, Toby has to go back to his old habits of being evasive, because who but a crazy person wouldn’t be evasive when a psychopath asks you where you live?

Toby’s older brother Shawn has a different kind of dishonesty. He’s a thief, and thieving requires a certain amount of dishonesty, but he’s never more dishonest that he absolutely needs to be. He assumes everyone knows that he’s a thief, so he’s evasive about where his goods come from in order to protect his clients in the event that someone gets curious.

Toby’s mom, on the other hand, is an expert at deviousness. She skirts the truth about Shawn to protect Toby, but really, isn’t her deviousness more to protect Shawn? Take a look at the scenes between Toby and his mom. It seems like it’s beyond her capabilities to give Toby a straight answer about anything. She lies to him, and then pretends the lie is a joke. He can’t phone her at work. She can’t even give him the long-distance code when he tries to make a call to a neighboring town.

Toby’s mom is without a doubt a virtuoso among salt-miners.
Don't forget to come back tomorrow for a REVIEW and GIVEAWAY.   One copy of the book along with a guitar pic will be up for grabs! Open to US Only!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this (reviewed on Guy Friday), and hope to get my daughter to read it when I get a copy for my library. Interesting back story. Thanks for sharing it, Mr. Briant.


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