“Louis Armand’s Breakfast at Midnight flows from the page, a prose poem in fragmented pointillism of sensory input, short strings more the neo-impressionism of pointed images than the hyphenated expressionistic gripes of Louis-Ferdinand Céline.
Blake exits stage left followed by yours truly. We stumble from the Orient Express and weave our way across freight yards. Labyrinths of drunken shipping containers stacked up into canyons. Rivers of slurried rainwater. Backwash. Ziggurats of scrapped steel. The drizzle once again peters out. A flair of grey light briefly in the east. At our backs. Unheeded epiphany. We stoop towards our shadows’ blotted compass-point. Gravity. Footfall. Our echoes precede us.
The darkness comes of the technique of chiaroscuro applied to characters contrasted against events and scenes no more beyond the pale than those of Céline but without the lightening of humor. The mood is pervasive gloom, a tone set by a protagonist whose impressions dab out the fragments against which the story stretches. The story is no darker than a realist ought expect of a human primate, certainly no outlier given the range of behavior of humans as reported by the nightly news and well within one standard deviation of the behavioral characteristics of the typical human. (When I lived in the French Quarter in the 1970s while teaching at Tulane, I used to tell my statistics students that in my neighborhood the standard deviation was fellatio; they duly wrote it down and eventually asked if it would be on the exam.)…”