The narrator of Sam Pink’s latest book, Rontel, makes it clear from the beginning what it’s like inside his head: “If people had access to my thoughts and feelings, I’d be asked to live on a rock in outer space—one with a long tether to a building in Chicago if any of my friends (just kidding) wanted to come visit.” But he’s so wrong. So wonderfully, wonderfully wrong.
In a style reminiscent of Knut Hamsun’s Hunger, Rontel takes a look inside the mind of a twenty-something year old as he wanders aimlessly about Chicago. Sometimes he eats a sandwich. Sometimes he stares at homeless people. Sometimes he thinks about getting a job. Sometimes he adds “Let me show you how a real man (does something)” to his conversations because he doesn’t know why but it sure makes him sound a whole lot more like a real man. And sometimes he rides the train and reads the paper:
“I looked up from the paper and out the window.
Felt like my face was the ugliest melt ever at that point.
Like, the worst.
I felt so stupid looking.
Always felt ugly and stupid on the train.
Like almost, sagged.
Sagged out and sorry. Continue reading