The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal by Sean Dixon
The Lacuna Cabal is a very different sort of young woman’s book club. First of all, they only read literature. Absolutely nothing frivolous. For another thing, they like to bring their books to life, to act them out, truly experience them. The Lacuna Cabal hasn’t been quite the same, though, since the death of Ruby Cognill some months ago. Thus when Ruby’s twin Runner has a book that she very much wants the Cabal to do, it is hard for them to turn her down.
Interestingly enough, “The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal” is narrated by two of the members of the Cabal who break the 4th wall and speak directly to the reader. Oh, and they often include footnotes during their story. It was quite disconcerting at first, having the narrator(s) speak of ‘we’ and in footnotes. Of course, once I was introduced to the rest of the characters they were so odd that I barely even noticed the ‘we’ narrators. There is Missy, their leader, who was older than she liked to admit and desperate to become pregnant by any means; Emmy who did not want to be a part of the book so was fictionalized by being given subltly striped (and color-changing!) skin by the narrators; Romy who secretly loved Emmy; Priya the folk singer; and Aline who is waiting for her gender reassignment surgery to physically become a woman. Not to mention Runner Coghill, who is perhaps the oddest of all.
So Runner asked the Cabal to next study a story she has on old stone tablets that turns out to be the Epic of Gilgamesh. They end up ‘recruiting’ two young men to be Gilgamesh and Enkidu and much drama ensues, culminating with quite an adventure.
If you’re feeling fairly skeptical about “The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal” at this point, I don’t blame you. I’m not sure whether the plot or the characters are odder. In fact, as I was reading it I kept saying to my mom and my husband, “this book is so weird!” However, each time I followed that up with “but I really like it!” My description of this book makes it sound ridiculous, I know, but it worked. At least for me. It might not work for everyone, you have to be open to the oddity. I was totally enthralled, though. There is some foul language and sexual content, but – to me at least – it didn’t seem gratuitous in context of the story.
If you’re feeling up for something a little different, I think you should give this a try.
Thank you to Other, Press and Tony from Blue Dot Literary for sending me this book to review.