Danger Slater’s He Digs a Hole makes you say: “Wow!” “What?” and “Haha!” all at once, producing a weird “Whawoha?!” noise when reading. This slim volume (only 135 pages) captured my attention on page 1 and held on firmly to the last word, becoming one of my favorite books this year.
It is the story of a suburbanite man who (you guessed it) digs a hole. He does so by removing his hands and replacing them with gardening tools. It only grows more bizarre from there.
The plot may be fantastical, but its narration style is even more unique. Not only is the book aware of itself, the characters, at times, are aware of the story they’re in, even arguing with the narrator. Slater unabashedly breaks the fourth wall with humorous consequences.
The story is rife with allegory about the day-to-day mundanity of life that is neither heavy-handed nor pedantic. As a writer, it’s one of those books that makes you hate the author, because you know you’ll never write as well as him.
As you float along in the beautiful rhythm of Slater’s narration, you find yourself cackling aloud. When people ask you what you’re laughing about, you struggle to explain it. The whole book is an amalgam of humor and excellent prose. One sentence: “He was a very handsome worm” may be my new favorite line in all of literature.
It was hard to find fault. The first part had a magic to it that felt lacking in the other two parts, causing a slight change in momentum. Still, it carried the reader along with the same enthusiasm and was not a detriment to the story.
I would recommend this book to almost anyone, not just fans of bizarro fiction. It’s a beautiful piece of literature that makes you think and laugh. The one prerequisite: you must have a stomach for gore. There is plenty of it in there.
You can find it here