Swallowtude is the debut novel from prolific underground poet, Rob Plath, published last year by Epic Rites Press. It is a "memoir" chronicling the life and redemption of its fictional protagonist, Harry Zontal...
"this is the story about how i saved my life. i'm not so sure why i wanted to save myself because i find living rather painful; but anyhow, this book is about salvation. it may also be considered a deferred murder spree, a delayed overdose, a shelved trip to the loony bin, a stay against cirrhosis, etc. but don't think i'm overly concerned with living because i'm not...but things were getting out of hand."
Straight off the bat you know what you are in for with this book, and in no uncertain terms you find out just how "out of hand" Harry's life was getting via a series of harrowing, yet often comical vignettes of hard drinking, drug taking and debauchery to the highest order. Harry is an out of work, down and out, borderline alcoholic, who stumbles from one meaningless hookup to the next, all in order of keeping "the creature" at bay. Eventually Harry's lifestyle catches up to him and he somehow manages to drag himself out of the mire before he is too far gone.
Having read a lot of Plath's poetry before picking up this book I had an idea of what to expect, as many of his poems follow similar patterns and themes to those captured here. I was pleasantly surprised that he has maintained his signature style from his poetry and translated it perfectly to prose. Plath is not one for following "the rules" and his prose style is very fluid, very raw and very much in the vein of the stream of consciousness style popularised by the beats. Swallowtude is like Kerouac meets Bukowski on acid. This is a very short novel, clocking in at only 84 pages. It is a short, sharp kick in the guts and highly recommended for fans of this type of story. Pick up a copy from Epic Rites Press and check out more of Rob's work on his website.
Stay horizontal my friends.