It is so refreshing when a new voice emerges from the cacophony of contemporary literature. “The Face of Our Town” may not suit everyone’s esthetic because it is so raw, revealing and spontaneous. Like James Joyce and Jack Kerouac, the author has captured the zeitgeist in a stream-of-consciousness paradigm that resembles–at times–a poetry slam, random thoughts, and brain farts. Reading it is as energizing as drinking a pot of fresh kombucha.
The target audience appears to be the 20-somethings struggling with the challenges of surviving in a world they had not been prepared for. The narrator wrestles with all the little things that older adults do without thinking.
One impressive aspect is the depth of the author’s vocabulary (and if a needed word does not already exist, one is fashioned handily from a mash-up of standard dictionary entries). Also, glancing references to major previous works of literature (such as Robert Anton Wilson’s “The Illuminati”) provide bread crumbs (or Easter Eggs, if you wish) to those who have tackled those tomes.
For a first attempt, “The Face of Our Town” is a masterly presentation of a generation raised by computers, cell phones, video games, and “everybody gets a prize.” These young adults are caught between a generation of lowered expectations (“Gen X”) and their own childhood memories (which they can access on social media any time they want). As Millennials become the majority in coming years (well after the “Baby Boomers” are gone), they can look back to this seminal vision of what it meant to grow up without all the instructions.
The reason for not giving all five stars has to do with the work’s vertical appeal. It will challenge older readers due to its veering from what they’re used to, but I issue a challenge to them if they wish to get some understanding of their children (or grandchildren) from a first-hand look.