The Drip Drop Prophet & Other Stories by Austin James
The Drip Drop Prophet is a story of love, lust, and loss, all tied together with a remarkable ending–except in this 80-page novella, it is the love between a man and his toaster oven. Pulling us in with his unique, engaging voice, Austin James uses classic bizarro whimsy to give us a novella you won’t want to put down.
At the center of the story is our unnamed main character who falls in love with the kitchen appliance he names Lucille. They share the passion of new lovers until a strange man named Darby shows up on his doorstep. He is only the first of many of the mutant Filii Tosti, who have come to worship Lucille as their “Creatrix.” Things soon grow out of hand and out of the main character’s control.
The novella starts out weird and grows into something positively nutty. James uses the bizarre as a tool to tell the story rather than flashing the reader with a bunch of random images. The main character accepts the bizarreness around him without question—one of my favorite approaches in surrealist writing.
I am familiar with James’s short fiction, and I have to say The Drip Drop Prophet is certainly his masterpiece to date. He forges a strong bond between the reader and the main character, investing you in the story to the last page. His descriptions of the Filii Tosti abound in creativity: a bodybuilder with a goldfish head, a wiener dog with an ashtray body, and endless other crazy varieties.
His masterful use of metaphor and simile rolls right off the page, as seen here in his description of the main character’s grief:
“My stomach is like a tidal wave that splashes up and eats my heart one bite at a time.”
Within all this is a metaphor on how religion can get out of control, corrupted by humankind’s more “human” motives.
Though original in its intricacies, I felt The Drip Drop Prophet did not venture far from well-trodden ground. It was a fascinating story, well-written, and one I thoroughly enjoyed, but similar in so many other ways to a dozen other bizarro novels.
Still The Drip Drop Prophet is an enjoyable tale, one you read with rapt attention and a smile on your face. I’m excited to see what James puts out next and so should you.
You can find The Drip Drop Prophet and Other Stories on Amazon here.
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