Review published on March 29, 2016.
Lurid and Cute is a breathless stream of conscientiousness of an unnamed hero whose aimless life is ultimately set to self-destruction. There is an element of Tarantino in the sex, violence and freneticism of the book.
The hero is unemployed and lives with his wife and dog in his parents’ house.
The book opens with him waking up in a seedy hotel with a girl, not his wife, who is unconscious and bleeding heavily. His life, the dust jacket says, just goes from bad to worse. I’d have said any deterioration in his circumstances were entirely of his own making as he lies to those around him and his ‘journey’ takes him to a brothel via an orgy and a couple of heists to feed his drug habit.
While his wife and parents support him and worry about his state of mind he and his mate, Hiro, behave like feckless teenagers where they are both of an age, an education and an upbringing that should be an impediment.
As the narrative tore on explanations were left hanging often leaving the reader unsatisfied. The Hero’s drug-fuelled self-examinations and paranoia often suggested a high level of self-awareness, without providing the impetus to do anything about his situation. There was a large dose of self-pity that came along for the ride.
I hold my hands up and admit that I don’t get Lurid and Cute. The reviews raved about the novel and while some of the writing is beautiful it runs on. I didn’t think it was funny. Perhaps I took him too seriously and empathised too much with his parents, his wife and even his dog as they suffered from his fecklessness. More lurid than cute.
Lurid and Cute by Adam Thirlwell
Vintage 9780099539841 pbk Jan 2016