Forbes West hates my guts.
Full disclosure: I won a free copy of "Nighthawks At The Mission" on Facebook after calling Forbes West a piece of shit, basically. Don´t ask, it´s a long story. I also told him to fuck off more often than he can count; like three times by now.
Forbes West: self-stylized asshole, medium talent and banned from Kinko´s for life. I do not know what Kinko´s is but I like them. They have taste.
Forbes West wrote a book. OK, nothing special about that. Everybody does it.
Forbes West wrote a book in second person. Now that IS special. And incredibly bizarre.
Academic scholars argue until this very day if a comma in Ulysses was set intentional, or if it was simply an human error. Nobody will argue about Nighthawks, not now, not in 100 years. Which is a shame, coz yeah, Nighthawks is as fucked up as it is genuinely great. The writing is stellar (think Hunter S. Thompson butt-fucking William S. Burroughs), the plot intriguing and tightly structured, the characters fully developed who live actual and real lives, but they also feel like an astronaut free-falling in open space. It is as complex as it is challenging and while I don´t think of books as complicated Nighthawks sure as hell needs a ton of work and time to invest.
It´s an LSD/booze ride, heavily borrowing from pop culture and/or political references, surreal to the point of melting away your brain cells. It´s imaginative and scatterbrained. It is also everything your momma warned you about when discovering the smut magazines hidden under your bed. It´s a Dali painting. It´s art, baby. Forbes West gives you the middle finger while writing some of the most skilled prose I can think of.
Nighthawks is also as flawed as flawed it can be. At times he is overly descriptive, at other times Forbes West simply doesn´t give a shit. Or maybe he does and makes you believe he doesn´t. I don´t know. The world-building is alien - d´oh - while almost being familiar.
Sarah Orange could be you, she could be me, she could be anyone.
Nighthawks, and that is pretty much a given, will remain an excersise in futility, and that is sad, really, coz nobody cares about a book written in second person. I say this without a hint of irony or even sarcasm. I do believe trailblazers like Forbes West are very much needed to keep literature fresh and alive. I applaud the oddballs and outsiders, those who try something new and different even if it means they fall flat on their ass. It takes a certain kind of bravery/insanity to do this and at the same time strongly and genuinely believe in what they do will have an impact.
This very moment some misunderstood genius* (and **) is writing a book. Once published it might be ridiculed and mocked because it is too weird, too off beat, too messed up for it to be really understood. If he is lucky. Or flat out ignored if he is not so lucky. Nighthawks has a strong stand in both camps.
* I also believe that 100% of all those self-declared geniuses are simply delusional dimwits.
** Forbes West? He is just insane.
Yeah, Forbes West hates my guts. That´s the only reason he forced Nighthawks upon me. I have said it before, and I say it again: Fuck you, Forbes West!
Second. Person. Asshole!