Akhmed And The Atomic Matzo Balls
By Gary Buslik
What do to the leaders of Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba, a liberal professor, his soon-to-be wedded daughter, Gilligan’s Island, a bunch of mutated termites, and, of course matzo balls all have in common? They’re part of a weird plot in Buslik’s latest book. Iranian president Akhmed discovers that matzo balls can be infused with radiation and detonated. So he plans to bring them to south Florida, distribute them, and kill a bunch of people, thereby disrupting the American economy. However, there are problems. The Venezuela president would rather be a vitamin salesman; a Chicago professor is trying to get handle on discovering he has a daughter; said daughter has problems with…just about everybody; and there are a bunch of pork hungry termites on the rampage.
A wild and deviously conceived plot full of possibilities and angles. This is not your typical spy thriller or murder mystery, or political intrigue. This is…different.
Akhmed: Iranian President, used to own a cockatiel
Hazeem: Akhmed’s assistant, interpreter
Leslie Fenwich: thick red hair with gray streaks, wears reading glasses, head of Depewe University’s English Department, speaks with a faux British accent, thin, likes to use big words, atheist, divorced, smokes
Diane Weinberg: 40s, Leslie’s former student and lover, attended Depewe, wide hips, has an M.A.
Karma Weinberg: 27, Diane’s daughter, red hair, has a fiance, used to be a vegan and totally ‘green’, now a conservative, owns a Mercedes SUV
Henri Charbonnay: Haiti’s commerce minister
Alex Gleason: chapter head of the British West Indies Benevolence Club
A nice array of characters, but everybody’s a doofus. Karma, with her constant spew of profanity and insults, is just annoying, while the leaders of the countries involved are sometimes too over-the-top.
Everybody, even the foreigners sounded American and sometimes juvenile Americans. I don’t mind Leslie using large complex words but when the leaders or other nations and/or their assistants start using them, or the narrator attributes these words to their thoughts, it becomes a bit distracting. One section has a letter from Leslie to Cuba’s president that runs for almost three pages. Half way through I wanted to skip to the point of the letter because it ran on and on. Some of the conversations run along the same line. Leslie sometimes can’t get to the crux of the conversation because he’s too busy searching for the correct word nobody ever uses, and I think makes up words as he goes along.
Book separated into Parts. Lengthy chapters. Each scene break is indicated with a black termite. Profanity. The author must have had a dictionary and thesaurus nearby because this is a story with an explosion of words. A plethora of adjectives and large, luxurious words that would not normally be found in 99.99% of conversations, thought patterns, or narration. While I don’t mind a little flair and extravagance, sometimes, it was a bit overwhelming. Humor is fine in books and I enjoy it and use it in my books, but it must be parsed accordingly. Too much and the reader loses focus. A lot of this over the top, which is what I believe is the intent, but sometimes (as in the case of over 90 ‘si’s in a row-Spanish for yes, in this case when a character meets an attractive woman, and yes, I did count them) it’s too much. Sometimes less is more.
I will say the descriptions of things and people are wonderful and unique The creative juices flowed in this area.
I thought a long time before deciding on a rank. The too much in-your-face attempts at humor were too much. There needed to be a straight man character or two to offset the loony-ness or eccentricities of everybody else. However, as I mentioned descriptions and similes and the use of words were very enjoyable. They made me think about my own writing and how I can manipulate words, try something new.
So, with material on both sides of the scale, I decided on: