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September 20, 2010 | by  | in Books |
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Sunday Daffodil and Other Happy Endings

Sunday Daffodil and Other Happy Endings
Author: P. Robert Smith

Fielding Montanna, the lead in P. Robert Smith’s urban fairytale of sorts, has a problem. He was run over by a speeding car (and promptly berated for being stupid/high enough to let it happen) and neither we, nor he, are sure if he’s alive or dead. Although that premise should be enough to rev any narrative engine, Smith gives us a few extra reasons why we should care about his protagonist’s metaphysical fate, such as Fielding’s bouts of nostalgia for polka-dot bikinis and kumbaya sing-alongs, vinyl, big band jazz, and climbing trees. The boy has delectable vintage taste. His wealthy elitist parents barely know him from a hole in the ground and his response is a shoulder shrug at the establishment. He hangs out in a diner because he likes the insomniac proprietor’s sage approach to life. And he crushes on girls with names like Sunday Daffodil.

Fielding is all of us and none of us. He is what we wish we could be. He’s essentially Holden Caulfield’s younger, less bothered brother. Fielding wanders through future Manhattan—and I assume it’s the future because it’s as bleak as can be—with his best bud Louie Louie, searching for meaning, horsing around, and spouting witty repartee whenever the urge takes them. The story is rife with absurdity and unexplained occurrences. We come across tramp-eating sea monsters, and spontaneously combusting opera singers on an outing to the now-toxic beach. These happenings don’t stop the book from advancing, and in a way, work to foster the reader’s appreciation of its eccentric plotline. I won’t be spoiling anything by saying that at the end, everything falls apart, or rather comes together, depending on whether or not you absorbed the book’s black-sugar mystique. Try it. You might just find the happy side of death.

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