Grant Maierhofer. Itna Press, $14 paperback (188p) ISBN: 9780991219698
Grant Maierhofer’s Flamingos rings with electricity. In his iteration of what a novel should be, Maierhofer dives into the lives of his characters, revealing their inner nature. Within this story, a host of characters have been subject to therapy, rehab, and hospitalizations for various, yet unknown, reasons – this book is their journalistic musings of life in the current moment. The characters are singular, vibrant in the details we are given of their lives, and more so the inner workings of their minds and thoughts. The ambiguity of their situations transcends our view of the conventional novel; it transposes upon us a kind of diary – something so intimate and personal it shakes us, as readers, down to our very cores.
A common theme among the characters is the displeasure of integrating into society, and pressures pressed upon them. The demands from a culture that does not cater to these characters draws upon the unnerving fear of never entirely belonging: “What you might do as a young human animal is fail, or succeed. Neither matters, but both have their time and place above a slow-poured cup of gas station brittle” (45). Nihilistic in ways, Maierhofer perpetuates the idea that everything these characters do or have done might not really matter. With undercurrents of intelligence mixed with a power-driven desire to make sense of it all, Maierhofer’s characters reflect the inner battles that plague many readers.