I still haven’t quite got the hang of Bizarro Fiction. Wiki defines it ‘a contemporary literary genre, which often uses elements of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque, along with pop-surrealism and genre fiction staples, in order to create subversive works that are as weird and entertaining as possible.’ Damien Walter, in this article, describes it as ‘the literary equivalent of the cult film section in a video store, taking inspiration from films such as Repo Man and Eraserhead. It aims to satisfy the demands of readers who are looking for weird, in the same way other readers go looking for action or romance.’ I like the sound of that.
Which brings us to Gary Arthur Brown’s Kitten.
If you’ve never read Bizarro before, it’s probably safe to say that this is quite unlike anything else. It’s also quite brilliant.
Trevor has a kitten. Well, it’s more of a sort of mutant squirrel, but he loves it and his mother, Amaand, tolerates the animal, even though it has recently developed the habit of vomiting up stamps from many nations following a visit by Trevor to his grandfather, who is dead and inhabiting a condo on the East Side.
Still with me?
Kitten starts out bizarre and then puts its head down, sets its shoulders, and strides confidently out into the world of the surreal. It details the kitten’s adventures in a parallel world where it really is a kitten and is named Willoughby. The parallel world is accessed through the stomach of one of the characters, but by the time you reach that bit this will make perfect sense, as will the Children’s Isle, the Chunder Lord and the Steel Planet.
This is enormous fun to read; it’s well-written, well-paced, and in places it’s very, very funny. I had the time of my life reading Kitten, and you should too.
Kitten is published by Eraserhead Press, and you can buy it here.