Reviews of Minor Confessions Of An Angel Falling Upward
“A blast of outrage and rejection in vampiric garb.”
This is, in some ways, the literary essay in free fall, an often contemptuous tirade to scandalize and scourge, a picaresque novel,of sustained poetic density and confident historical sweep, with disturbing black depths.
The narrator, “Planner Forthright”, in consistently throwaway style, combines a haughty cultural range with shameless encyclopaedic references, never letting us forget that we are in conversation with a (fallen) being of a higher order, and his often arrogant and `information-overload’ rants, sometimes require several readings to plumb their full implications.
`Real’ history is seamlessly interwoven with myth and fantasy, and there is a high-tension current of anger, a rejection of America, running through the book, reminiscent of Burroughs at his most scandalous.
It’s a hugely literate rant, a seeming exorcism of authorial demons in these acts of a vampiric fallen angel, struggling back to…. the light? We can’t ultimately be sure.
Along the way one meets social observation of razor sharp accuracy (e.g. a memorable analysis of the Manson phenomenon, thrown away, mid-narrative, is lucid and bitterly astute).
Planner Forthright describes how he moves to a duel with an arch rival and tormentor in a plot so convoluted as to defy definitive description. However, his picaresque tale is both horrifying and didactic; by turns engaging and grotesquely amusing. This angry anti hero, cynical and betrayed, is, oddly, misunderstood. Showily learned, he is as inclined to lecture us on literature and music as to gorge himself on a new victim.
Planner’s tirade spews out homage to the detective genre, the quest motif, a whole raft of vampire-driven fiction and movies. It incorporates myth, legend and anthropological insights in a helter-skelter of action, outlandish hypotheses and arcane pronouncements (that expression “helter skelter” for example, is one the author would fully exploit and endorse, draining it of all its cultural referents, as his anti-hero drains a victim).
This then, is the literary essay in free fall, a blast of outrage and rejection in vampiric garb, an often contemptuous tirade to scandalize and scourge, and we are challenged, at one point, with all the angry passion of a prophet, to spurn the life-betraying offence of “Betraying one’s gifts”.
So, this is never an easy read, but compelling and unforgettable in ways reminiscent of De Sade’s “120 Days of Sodom” and, closer to home, Burrough’s “Naked Lunch”.
As with these works, when putting down “Minor Confessions”, it is clear one has shared subversively clever, dangerously amoral company.
“You’ve endured some crazy shit from me…” scoffs Planner. There is no denying it; one is marked by it. There is much reading and thinking to do to assimilate it.
You will not be reaching for your cup of cocoa here. `Comfort’ is not a feature of this trip.
Jodric Plinth: Dec. 10th 2012
When words are the only blood left to bleed, By Rich Bottles Jr.
Joey Madia is a Machiavellian-inspired modern-day poet, producing his prosodic prose with a pronouncedly pestilent pen. In reading this epic tale, one can sense the gleam that Madia must have had in his eye as the words spilled from his mind and filled the bindings of this impressive missive.
As I became possessed by “Minor Confessions of an Angel Falling Upward,” I was reminded of a time during my angst-ridden youth when I ravenously read the multi-volume saga of another super-spiritualist, almost expecting to be visited at any moment by the narrator as I turned each mysterious page.
Although it may have been less traumatic for me to have been visited by Mr. Castaneda during one of his lucid dream travels, courtesy of Don Juan Matus, the idea – or thoughtform – of neoshaman Leyton Walkingfeather sending Planner Forthright my way, via some bizarre Yuwipi ceremony, is quite intriguing.
Whether looking for blood or seeking another compatriot for his battle against his alchemic arch nemesis, Parvus Cornu, I imagine Planner Forthright would attempt to gain my sympathy by explaining how he is a “fallen angel made man” who has walked this earth for over 40 long years (blah, blah, blah). And I’m sure his diatribe would include plenty of similes, metaphors and allusions to a plethora of obscure works of literature and cinema.
I suppose I could try to send Planner Forthright on his way, telling him that his cache of arcane knowledge and pop culture enlightenment would better serve him in a class for Postmodern Literary Criticism or as a contestant on the TV game show “Jeopardy,” but I’d probably invite him to hang out on my plane for awhile and tell me his complex story in more detail.
Planner Forthright’s story, as told to his biographer/secretary Joey Madia, could be told in simple terms, specifically that of a fallen angel-turned self-described vampire, who (along with his dark-cloaked spirit guide Crow and his Jazz-loving Homeboyz of Hell posse) defends the pride of cuckolded men and the virtue of besmirched women while preparing to do battle with the infamous Parvus Cornu. But there is nothing simple about this Angel Falling Upward.
Cornu, whose aspirations are no less than the complete domination of Heaven and Earth (not to mention Hell), causes betrayal amongst Forthright’s inner circle and continuously punishes our anti-hero at every turn, including turning him into the pagan goat deity Baphomet. At one point, Forthright is forced to eat crow when his vampire friend Mykaldaemio accuses him of being a vampire poseur because of Forthright’s reluctance to be preoccupied by the traditional vampire penchants for sex, death and violence.
As the reader of Planner’s memoir, I would tend to agree with Mykaldaemio’s advice: “No one is invisible, Planner. You just have to change the way you see.” After all, Planner refuses `to see’ the true nature of his tormentor, preferring instead to scour the minds and works of great writers throughout history to bolster his omnipotent perception of Parvus Cornu.
Planner insists on calling his enemy Little Horn, rather than acknowledging the Latin origin of the moniker Parvus Cornu – maybe because such a realization may lead him to the conclusion that severing the lateral ventricle via a prefrontal lobotomy could be a viable course of action.
Yes, there may actually be physical and spiritual dangers in being “too well-read,” and it is quite entertaining to join Planner Forthright in his stream-of-conscious expedition from stubborn self-denial to subjugated self-realization.
As a spiritual guide tells Planner late in his metaphysical journey to inner awareness, “Your difficulty lies in your getting too lost in the entanglements of the physical world. It interferes with your spiritual progress.”
In conclusion, I recommend anyone who is dissatisfied with the mundane portrayals of today’s pop-cultured blood-suckers to consider exploring the essence of true Evil, which surpasses the narrow confines of Hell, Heaven and Earth. “Minor Confessions of an Angel Falling Upward” by Joey Madia is a true revelation.