Die Empty by Kirk Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
You're forty and work a dead end job. You've tried giving your life meaning through possessions and failed. Your wife is having an affair with the neighbor and thinks you don't know. When Death shows up at your door with a job to do, what other choice do you have?
I first encountered Kirk Jones through the New Bizarro author series years ago, with Uncle Sam’s Carnival of Copulating Inanimals, and then years later with Journey to Abortosphere. The thing that sets his writing apart from other Bizarro fiction is that his stories always have a underlying logic no matter how demented things are on the surface. When he hit me up to read Die Empty, I was up for another run.
Die Empty is the story of one man's journey into middle age and the deal he made with Death. Told using a second person point of view, there's an odd intimacy to the tale. It's at once funny and depressing. Actually, the main character reminds me of the main character from Fight Club, only without all the macho bullshit going on.
Entering your forties sucks. You're not old yet but you're not young anymore. Die Empty captures this nicely. Lance, the main character, works a dead end job, lusts after every woman except his drunk wife, and basically coasts along. He hates his neighbor and not just because of the affair he's having with his wife. When Death shows up, Lance doesn't really have anything better to do but help Death claim some lives through shitty products in exchange for forty more years of life.
I'm not really selling this right but it's a hard book to quantify. Once I started reading it, that was pretty much it. There's humor, sadness, some time paradoxes, and even some lessons to be learned. I'm docking a fraction of a star because the Masters of the Universe action figures' name was Tri-Klops, not Cyclops.
Die Empty is a thought-provoking read, to say the least. It's not for everyone but if you're looking for something off the beaten path, this is it. Four out of five stars, adjusted for Tri-Klops.
View all my reviews