Monday, June 15, 2009

Jesus Swept by James Alexander Protzman


Title: Jesus Swept
Author: James Alexander Protzman
Publisher: Kitsune Books
Publication Date: December 1, 2008
Format: Paperback, 276
Age Group: Adult

Description (from Amazon.com): Following in the tradition of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces and William Kotzwinkle's The Fan Man, James Protzman's Jesus Swept plays fast and loose with every known Southern archetype and stands magical realism on its head without missing a beat. Joining classic hippie-jester-heroes Ignatius C. Reilly and Horse Badorties is Gary Gray, part-time sidewalk sweeper and full-time savior. The unlikely story of hope lost, found, and lost again on the North Carolina coast, Jesus Swept celebrates a philosophy of life you can put on a bumper sticker: Do Good, Be Nice, Have Fun. Meet Hook, Sinker, Liz, Frank, Dog and Jesus himself, six souls twisted in a tangle of threads that will make you cry until you laugh - or until you try dying.

My Thoughts: I'm not sure what I was expecting when I received Jesus Swept but it certainly wasn't what I got. Perhaps I'm simply not meant to read literary fiction because I did not understand this book at all. I found it very difficult to follow, with incredibly short chapters and fast changes of scene and characters. The whole book felt disjointed to me. Because I was never able to spend a substantial amount of time in the story with any one of the characters, I never felt connected to any of them.

The description also fails to mention the heavy use of foul language and sexual references which really turned me off from the book as well.

With the hope that the characters' stories would eventually connect and begin to make sense to me and in the interest of writing a fair review, I did read the entire book. Unfortunately it never did get better for me and I was as confused when I finished reading as I was after the first few chapters.

Thank you to Amy at Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists for sending me a copy of Jesus Swept.