Bad Alchemy - Jordan Krall

Bad Alchemy is the continuation of False Magic Kingdom. Told via multiple viewpoints - as previously established - it takes the narrative into different directions but essentially talking about the same thing. Human loss and personal breakdowns or tragedies. The anxiety which was very apparent and strong in False Magic Kingdom feels lessened now, and the focus is more on personal events than something more general.

The stories spill over from False Magic Kingdom, iE the story of Tina, a girl who was born with two penises (sic) who is desperate to have a surgery to have them removed, against her parents wishes. The symbolism is obviously strong, we are still talking about 9/11 here, even more hinted at than really spelled out.

The individual stories within Bad Alchemy are coming together more clearly, are tied together within the stories themselves, but in different contexts. Characters play their parts, and are connected to their fellow companions. What ties them together in fact is odd at times, and seems constructed into something larger, hidden within layers of references.

Bad Alchemy feels less obscure, less surreal, since there is due Krall´s language a more coherent sound - if only BOOM - which makes the reading itself easier. The characters traits and motivations are played out, and are more of something now, and it seems more focused as a whole. Plus, there is a strong series of implications about something terrible happening and/or going to happen. Oftentimes a remembrance of a time that once was and is no more, and how to distance themselves from their past and present.

Still, the narrative itself is confusing, which is to be expected, since there is ~apparently~ no order of things, no clear cut line of thought, no established connection from A to B to Z, rather zig-zagging through the book. Which is fitting with the urban setting when one thinks of it as the characters commuting from here to there and back and forth in no straight lines.

It´s still not an easy read, but a challenging one. The unusual style of story telling works really well, and I enjoy this very much, even it takes time. Time and effort to really let go and fall into some kind of trance. As disjointed and non-linear everything may be it works best when the subconsciousness takes over, even that feels slightly pretensious to say. When I simply follow it with my instincts, my heart rather than my mind.