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Gabino Iglesias

Gabino Iglesias was born in Puerto Rico, did a bit of growing up in Spain and somehow ended up in Austin, Texas. He is a writer, journalist, and PhD student, although most of his time is spent reading and reviewing books.

Blurbs

"Gutmouth is one of the juiciest, slimiest, sleaziest things I've come across. One of the best New Bizarro Author Series books I've read"

– Steve Lowe

"Consistently, persistently inventive."

– Stephen Graham Jones

"Iglesias is an author to watch."

– Ross E. Lockhart

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Gutmouth

Defying genre and categorization as it scoffs at attempts at civility

12/19/13

I haven’t read much bizarro fiction so I had no idea what to expect when I picked up Gutmouth by Gabino Iglesias. Expectations were shattered as the book was wilder than I could have imagined. Told in first-person, this is a visceral, intense read that grips you by the throat, defying genre and categorization just as much as it scoffs at any attempts at civility. There is a mouth called Philippe growing out of Dedmon’s stomach, a literal “gut mouth,” that poses an odd contrast with his fine tastes and British accent. As strange as that may seem, the world is even more twisted.

I looked up at the dark sky. Huge artificial asses hung from extension poles on top of every lamppost. The asses had been installed as method of crowd control when the New World transition began. The devices were designed to rain down acid diarrhea. Kind of like a postmodern version of a lachrymatory agent with an olfactory punch.

Olfactory punches abound and you will need to lift up your mental defenses as they will get bloodied and bruised by the barrage Iglesias volleys at readers. Dedmon was a repo man before MegaCorp took over the world and enlisted his skills to become a hunter. He tracks down “criminals” whose infractions against consumerism include not buying enough allotted products and “stubborn citizens who wanted to grow their own food.” Their punishment is inhumanly severe and even though MegaCorp “enjoyed using death row inmates as guinea pigs for new products,” there is an almost sociopathic apathy to Dedmon as he arrests the perpetrators without empathy. The combined Mr. Dedmon and Philippe are a misogynistic and misanthropic pair, brutes in every sense of the word. Satire and horror feed off each other, racing to chapter’s end with an absurdity that would make Kafka seem tame (and this despite the kleptomaniac roaches). Iglesias makes no attempt at being politically correct, but instead embraces the world with all its dark gory brutality. The implication is that since everything  is commoditized, morality is tossed aside or at least distorted to an unrecognizable norm. Easily offended readers will find themselves turned off by some of the caustic exchanges as well as the expletives. But if you can see beyond it, then the societal criticisms and attitudes implicit in such a world provoke deeper questions. Take for example the medical technology that is so advanced, it allows for the reversal of pleasure and pain along with limb growth (spurred by salamandar DNA). The rampant genetic testing in part results in a pimple on Dedmon’s stomach that expands into the eponymous mouth. At the same time, it is also a parable for the modern man, torn into hundreds of different directions and driven by insatiable hunger and perpetual discontent. As though that weren’t bad enough, enter the love, or lust, of his life:

She wore a bologna bikini and a Viking hat. The thin slices of fake meat barely covered the nipples on each of her three breasts. Her skin glistened like a wet olive… By the time Marie was done jumping with her slimy stump buried deep inside the convulsing fat monster on the strength, I knew I had found the love of my life.

Dedmon’s conflict transfigures into a mutation of the traditional skew on dualism that is neither a Cartesian split, nor Hegelian dialectics, but instead, a mouth (Phillipe) that sticks his tongue inside Marie’s genitalia to arouse her, in turn arousing a vicious jealousy in the brain (Dedmon) that incites him to murder. In other words, the most fucked up love triangle I’ve read, seen, or heard to date. Shed the squid guards, the rat friend, the Genital Mutilation and Erotic Maiming Center, and a world torn apart by steroidal madness, and the bizarre is rendered in sympathetic flashes. Dedmon is just a poor bum in love with the wrong woman.

Without having breakfast, I got my clothes and shoes from the safe, dress and left. My feet carried me straight south to Shlicker Park. I sat on a beach, eyes still blurry with drink, heart broken and senses reeling. For the next few hours, I sat and watched the serpent-trees snag bloated pigeons in mid-air. The crunching of their tiny bones mixed with the frantic cooing from the survivors to create a perfect melody for a Saturday morning in the park.

Considering how Iglesias ups the WTF factor (I’m sorry, but there’s no other word to describe it) with every chapter, I wouldn’t be surprised if in future works, he punts the bizarro to another stratosphere. For now, I wonder if there is a secret mouth under Gabino Iglesias’s stomach that he is hiding from the rest of the world. I wonder what it will spew if given free rein. I hope it is not too hungry. I don’t want to be eaten.

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