J. EDWARD SUMERAU (via Metro Spirit):
The latest offering from M. Christian — “Me2” — poses a bit of a dilemma for the average reader. While it contains an intricate plotline leading readers deeper and deeper into psychological consideration, it is constructed upon a narrative style that is often jumpy, tense and hard to follow. The end result is an intriguing argument buried in a difficult format.
M. Christian is of course a variety of voices wrapped into a single moniker. Whether found in erotic collections of the straight or gay variety or in horror compilations and psychological intrigues, Christian holds power over a voice deeply original in a time where conformity is all too common. Having found his work in collections such as “Dirty Words," “Speaking Parts” and “Best American Erotica," it was about time that Christian offered a vision of the contemporary world in the form of a longer offering.
The dilemma arises in the context of the story. The premise is simple enough: A young man works in a coffee shop, dates other men and loves his little car. He even has the common push and pull relationship many grown men have with their fathers, but he is losing his mind. The question becomes whether he is losing himself or being taken by someone else.
Such a fascinating premise based on the notions of identity formation in a world of continual conformity and over-classification makes for a startling storyline in the hands of the craftsman.
The problem for many will arise in the format. Laced with interludes that often drag on without merit and paranoid reactions to the most inane of thoughts, the pace of the story tends to slacken at times, and as a result, the tumultuous occurrences of the characters are left in some form of limbo. As a result, readers may have to carefully take notice of seemingly obscure passages to make sense of the whole, and the story is a difficult read complete with intriguing insights worthy of notice.
With its attack on conformity and modernity in general, the book is an amazing argument in the tradition of Bret Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho” and “Lunar Park," and while its premise recognizes the former, its narrative is a bristly obstacle course reminiscent of the latter work.
In all these regards, Christian has offered a fascinating view of the modern world, and for those who make it through the pitfalls of the writing style, it will be an adventure well-worth the effort.