Shrunken skulls and sarcastic dolphins – say hallo to Leeram in Fordlandia

by | indielit

Welcome to our first ever SPEED REVIEW! It could be the world’s first ever speed review for all I know. It could be the beginning of a terrible new trend, where reviewers only bother to read a bit of a book before slamming or praising it. When literature has truly gone south, perhaps someone will point to this moment, point at us, and say, “It was them! It was them with that goddam speed review business!”

Anyway. We’ve decided to start writing, parallel to our normal book reviews, things called SPEED REVIEWS. Being as how we, like so many book review sites, end up with a growing pile of books to review, books which it may take a few weeks to read, process, and write something about.

So we’ve introduced the SPEED REVIEW. This involves our reading a synopsis of the story, the first chapter, and two sets of three pages somewhere inside the book, and writing about the book based on these things. It’s not intended to replace a normal review, and the books we get sent go onto the pile for a proper review too.

So here it comes, without further ado, the first ever INDIEBERLIN SPEED REVIEW, maybe even the FIRST EVER SPEED REVIEW ANYWHERE. I’m getting a bit hooked on these capitals. I’m going to have to stop that.

Leeram in Fordlandia by Buell Hollister is no ordinary book. It’s a book about an unambitious coffee shop assistant in his early forties who is given a shrunken head by the widow of a recently-died collector friend of his. The head starts talking to him and away we go. As I said, this is a speed review, so I am unable to betray the whole story to you even if I wanted to. I know that they end up in South America, that they talk at some point to a somewhat irate dolphin which is housing the spirit of Henry Ford (best line so far: “Was he just one flipper over the line, or not? I decided not.”), and that the shrunken skull has strongly held opinions about a number of things.

But what’s more important than any of this is that Buell Hollister’s writing crackles with an inventive and irreverent energy. He can write, he can write like hell, and he’s also extremely funny. Through everything I read the pace didn’t flag even slightly. He’s on it the whole time, like a broken electric cable whipping wildly around, buzzing and throwing off sparks. You know, like they do in bad B movies. He keeps the pace up and doesn’t let us get bored, and throws in enough irreverent asides that you just know that he’s having a whale of a time writing this.



This is a SPPED REVIEW by Noel Maurice, author of The Berlin Diaries, an autobiographical novel about early nineties Berlin.
For more information on the SPEED REVIEW concept please go to our Book Reviewing Policy page.
If you’re interested in buying the book please go through the link on this page and we get a small amount of money! Thanks!

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