Lazy Fascist isn’t lazy, quite the opposite actually, releasing their second offering on the same day with Nick Antosca’s The Obese.
The opening line should be read as a warning to the faint of heart, the squeamish. To others, like myself, it’s a mission statement, an invitation. “My name is Nina Gilten, and I’m cutting pieces of hipbone off a beautiful South African girl called Behati van de Velde, a blond girl, a descendant of Boers.”
A few paragraphs later, you’ll be either relieved or disappointed to find out that Gina is fashion photo editor. There is no real cutting. Maybe that says more about me, which is a whole different story.
Above all, The Obese is a satire. It’s gory and makes no apologies about it. Writing about body image and America’s obesity epidemic, Antosca, a Shirley Jackson Award-winner and author of Midnight Picnic and Fires, takes no prisoners, leaving every man, woman, and child to fend for themselves.
The words in this book are exercised with a poet’s precision. It is so far beyond the awful, formulaic, workshop-produced fiction of many young modern writers today. The language is explosive, the emotions are real, and the scenes are conveyed in such a way that you walk away feeling you as though you just went through the experience. The reading, in short, is a workout in it of itself.
Melding dystopian thriller with an over-the-top premise might be too tall an order for most writers, but the tone is just right. Scenes of rabid obese people rioting through the streets of New York can, to a lesser writer, come off as gimmicky, but Antosca hits all the right notes.
Living up to his reputation for innovative yet accessible work, Antosca creates a story that is so grotesquely hilarious it makes me wonder if it’s, indeed, possible. A world full of overweight people trying to eat the one person who despises them most sounds intriguing, but it’s the writing, the attention to craft throughout the text, that renders this interesting premise into a fully fleshed (pardon the pun) out book worth reading.
For fans of Antosca’s previous work, The Obese is a must read; for the virgins out there, my suggestion is that you pop your cherry and submit to the zany mind of Antosca. My bet is you won’t be disappointed.—Patrick Trotti