What do you do when there is a, “Army of serial killers, mad scientists, and ultra rich sociopaths” after you?
Why, you summons your alter, “Larissa Ekaterina Anastasia Nikolayevna Romanova, tsaritsa of all the Russias,” and embark upon Larissa Shmailo’s cornucopiac literary odyssey, Sly Bang, of course.
From Nietzsche’s “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”, and Lady Gaga’s meat dress, to sadistic cult
leaders and space Nazis, this sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, is chock-full of surprises at every turn. I mean, the lead character, Upper West Side, Manhattanite Nora, is a multiple personality FBI agent/possible alien, with an affinity for serial killers, who telepathically communicates with giant prehistoric birds, AND as luck would have it, writes uncannily brilliant poetry (journal entries).
There is a LOT going on in this book.
In my opinion, the (quintessentially Shmailo) Interlude is where Sly Bang lives and breathes - It is the much anticipated doorway through which the reader officially exits suspended disbelief, and enters Nora’s world - her *real* world - introduces, through beautifully crafted poems, the backstory of Nora; a tragic tale of horrific abuse, betrayal, and ultimately, survival.
This stretch of writing - which jets the reader back to World War II, Nora’s camp family history, is nothing short of masterful, and reminiscent of Shmailo’s previous offering, Patient Women. The poem, Warsaw Ghetto, itself, is well worth the price of admission.
Generously infused throughout with humor, ebullient psychosexualism, and quasi-hypothetical political scenarios, this manic mind-trip, where alternate realities collide, full-force, culminating in orgasmic fits and fantastical flurries, Sly Bang, is a bit like eating chocolate cake on a roller coaster. Crazy. Delicious. Chaos.
K.R. Copeland - author of Love and Other Lethal Things