From the award winning poet and author of No Diplomacy comes this unsettling debut novel, Ride, by Andrew Lafleche.
High school is over, an ex-girlfriend is pregnant, and Troy Brinkman is spiralling out of control. Having moved out of his parent’s home, he’s entered a landscape of limitless entropy where everybody drinks copious amounts of alcohol, snorts mountains of cocaine, and once Ecstasy is discovered, swallows as many pills as they can get their hands on. When he’s not seething for his next high, Troy cruises parties, strip-clubs, and bars for action in a desperate attempt to avoid coming to terms with his best friend’s attempted suicide. In this binge-life, Troy recognizes his impending doom and tries to renew feelings for his ex-girlfriend, Danielle—his sole through-line that connects Troy to who he was before he became who he is. It’s this struggle which may lead to Troy’s own destruction.
Plot: In this raw, rowdy, and disturbing story, a young man pursued the next high. Shallow relationships come and go; no one is to be trusted in this narrative. In the end, Troy’s deeds catch up with him, but just barely.
Prose/Style: Written in a stream of consciousness style, the work is heady and disjointed. The author frankly portrays the characters’ heinous actions and sexual appetites. Dialogue, on the other hand, is clear and fast-paced, though often veering toward misogynistic.
Originality: This feels original, as it seems the author writes from experience. Troy and his friends are constantly high, often in trouble, and their thinking patterns and subsequent actions stem from this disordered state of mind.
Character Development: Troy and his friends are not likable characters, although the reader will feel empathy for Casy, his best childhood friend, who eventually attempts suicide after confiding intimate details of his tragic childhood to Troy. The young people here often come across as archetypes of a young slacker generation.
Date Submitted: April 02, 2020
The memories kicked up by this trip lead Troy on a bender of extreme and violent proportions-he robs drug dealers, ruins friendships, and fills his system with whatever chemicals he can. As he self-destructs, he tells himself to just "enjoy the ride," but that may be because he doesn't realize the dark places that the ride will take him. Lafleche tells the story in Troy's own voice-a caustic blend of casual slurs, teenage id, and affected nihilism-and the novel as a whole fits very well within the tradition of transgressive literature.