Wednesday, February 08, 2012

"Pulphead" by John Jeremiah Sullivan

Recently finished reading Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan: a book of largely first person essays done really well.

Sullivan's writing reminded me of that from Wright Thompson with his story subjects tending towards his southern home area and reading his essays inspired a jealously due to the things experienced. The most memorable story from Pulphead was "Violence of the Lambs", a story that... well, I don't know how to describe it other than to echo the words of accomplished Tampa Times writer Ben Montgomery and say its the strangest magazine story I've ever read.

Other essays from the book that struck me were the following: "Upon this Rock" - on Sullivan's time at the Creation Christian rock festival, "Feet in Smoke" - on his brother electrocuting himself and almost dying, "Mr. Lytle: an Essay" - on time spent living and working on his writing with an aging professor, "At a Shelter (After Katrina)" - about his experiences along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina and which featured a fascinating reference to end of the world type experiences, "Michael" - on the amazing talent and completely different than all other people Michael Jackson, "The Final Comeback of Axl Rose" - about time spent looking into how the lead singer of the seminal rock band grew up" and "Unnamed Caves" - covers time Sullivan spent with some of the leading archaeologists and cave explorers of caverns in the south.

Again, amazing experiences that Sullivan has had and the writing is of such quality to make me interested in going back once more to read his book Blood Horses, a sort-of memoir, sort of history of horses and horse racing. I'm not interested at all in the horse part, but very much curious to read more about the life experiences of Sullivan.