Friday, 21 April 2017

Satire with a heart: Fight the Rooster by Nick Cole

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy satire as much as the next guy who anticipates the skewering, like stuck pigs, of the Left’s totalitarian monstrosities. But let’s face it, most of it leaves you wanting to slash your wrists. Take Platonov, Bulgakov, and Houellebecq (who eviscerate everything from communist fascism to contemporary standup and cults). Although it’s fun to baste yourself in their gloomy oil of despair, they do have a tendency to leave readers feeling as though they’ve been run over by a midnight monster-truck in Death Truck 3.

That simile comes courtesy of Nick Cole, and if you felt your mood lighten just from reading it, then I’ll lay good money on Fight the Rooster being your type of book. It certainly was mine. (In the interests of a fair review, I Googled Death Truck 3, only to discover Mr. Cole was toying with his readers’ tremulous emotions. No such film exists. For the arthouse buffs among us, I recommend you watch the 1974 masterpiece Killdozer until someone with enough sense in Hollywood options DT3).  

Reading Fight the Rooster is in fact a bit like been steamrolled by said monster-truck, but in a good way. As though the truck were made of marshmallow dripping in chocolate syrup. And driven by a wise old man with whom you have a revelation about your life with redemptive overtones. While barreling down Sunset Boulevard taking potshots at every scumbag in Hollywood.

Did I mention I enjoyed it? Well, I did. This is satire with a heart. The kind that drags you through the murky underbelly but brings you out the other side unscathed, and perhaps, if you’ve been paying attention, a little better off for having taken the journey. The sort where characters are not expendable cutouts, but people with souls, oftentimes confused souls, but capable nonetheless of learning something from the struggles of daily life. The kind where they rediscover their courage, lost love, and youthful passions. It’s a book where you feel like cheering as you read the last sentence.

It’s my first Nick Cole tome (a literary term for a book that bloodies your nose when you fall asleep reading). But it won’t be my last.

Fight the Rooster and other books by Nick Cole can be found here at the author's website. 

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