Oh wow! Wowee wow wow! It's Shakespeare! No wait... It's Kafka! Wait, there's a little Burroughs in here too... What the fuck!?? Oh sweet, Hamlet is doing drugs and having barn sex. Now he thinks he's a cockroach. Whoa, back off Horatio! Can't you just let Hamlet BE?? Bah, party-pooper. But it was so very nice of you to hide him away after he killed Polonius.
You should have known better than to get involved with Puck. Perhaps it was inevitable, seeing as your entire universe is being controlled by a mysterious god who sees fit to alter your experiences to its like. Messing with your physical world is one thing, but those fucked up visions of knot-zees it gives you are not cool!
Hmm, you seem level headed enough, sensing it all falling apart around you, but you fear so much even when you already know how it's suppose to end. Safe journeys on your quest to find god!
I really enjoyed trying to figure out from who's perspective the characters of Naked Metamorphosis were being controlled by. I assume the majority of characters are more of an amalgamation of each writer's styles, but Horatio remained a puzzle for me for most of the book. His constant introspecting reminded me of Burroughs, but his actions/mannerisms felt like pure Shakespeare.
I see Hamlet as being in a state of dissolution from the moment he enters the story. He is delirious from an over-indulgence of drugs and alcohol, though it is only through Horatio that we see this, and believes everything he hallucinates to be reality, including his transformation into a cockroach.
I found the characters at Castle Elsinore to be a wild bunch. While I was never a big fan of this play I am acquainted with the roles and Eric Mays has altered them just enough to create seemingly different yet oddly familiar personalities.
King Claudius is a whimpering pussy cat fearful of his wife Gertrude, who has taken on the role of antagonist in his place. Polonius is a world class asshole (wah!), Rosen Crantz and Guilden Sterns are ninjas and lovers and, in my favorite turn, Ophelia is a drooling idiot on account of her being clocked on the noggin by Hamlet.
Though he borrows a lot from the original source material, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Eric Mays has created an alternate mythos from the play that is wholly his own. He skewers the Bard's tale into a synthesis of Elizabethan tragedy and more modern Absurdism/Existentialism.
His narration is colorful and flows seamlessly from third person to first, and his use of anachronistic terms spouted through the central narrator Horatio are highly amusing.
One thing Mr. Mays has is an extremely adept ear for dialogue. His character's conversations are the best part of the book. He creates a unique tongue for each of them while holding said tongue firmly in cheek. No single character felt unnecessary or out of place, and each was a performance unto themselves.
Act 3, Scene 2 stood out for me as the single greatest piece of writing in the entire book. A first person account of a nightmare had by Horatio, it immediately reminded me of the Spanish play Life Is A Dream after reading. It was the tone/atmosphere of that story that descended upon the rest of this book for me.
Taking the text as a whole, it feels disjointed in a perfectly rational way. Like the destruction of a building only to reconstruct a similar type structure in its place using pieces from the original. As Eric Mays carefully lays each brick, he never forgets that it is not only himself, but also Kafka and Burroughs who are helping him rebuild a classic into modern Bizarro.
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Naked Metamorphosis at Amazon.com
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