Friday, August 5, 2011

The Coming of the Walrus

The Coming of the WalrusThe Coming of the Walrus by James Riordan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I probably should have given The Coming of the Walrus only four stars. However, I'm allowing my personal tastes to override my critical sensibilities and awarding it that fifth star. Why? Just because I enjoyed it so much... After all, isn't that what reading is all about?

The Coming of the Walrus is the definitive novel for those who were born too late to experience the 60’s, or for those who fondly recall the 60’s, or even those who lived it but were too stoned then to remember any of it now. Here is author James Riordan’s hilarious tale of Dave Chalmers and his harrowing search for the greatest truth of all.

Dave Chalmers is a burned-out former reporter for Rolling Stone magazine. A fateful meeting with over-aged roadie Tom-Tom Brubaker at a concert in The Who’s “last” tour sets in motion a chain of improbable events and meetings. When Tom-Tom’s body turns up at the morgue following the concert, Dave Chalmers begins piecing together clues to a greater mystery and sets out on a personal quest to discover the identity of the legendary Walrus of Beatles song fame.

Chalmers, a reluctant, ill-prepared, and delightfully unlikely hero, soon finds himself whisked along on a wild, globe-hopping carnival ride of discovery—a roller coaster with angels and demons wrestling for the controls. Why are they interested in a nobody like Dave, you might ask? The answer is deceptively simple. Chalmers is determined to uncover the secret of the Walrus, to rediscover the source of all the “goodness” that existed in the 60’s and, perhaps, to satisfy his foot fetish or a few other fantasies. To make matters worse, Dave’s motivation for embarking on this quest is an enigma that even he cannot fathom. The author, skillfully stretching and manipulating even the most outrageous fables and conspiracy theories of the 60’s, soon has his readers hoping—and occasionally believing—that there actually may be something to the Walrus Myth.

In the broadest terms, The Coming of the Walrus is a tale well worth reading. If not for some adult language, situations, and themes, I would have recommended this novel to anyone who can lay hands on a copy. One should be aware at the outset, however, that it is meant for mature readers who are comfortable in knowing that their humor gyroscopes may be more than a couple degrees out of calibration. My initial impression of the book, based on its appearance and rather limited information about it, was very enthusiastic. As a reader, I was not disappointed by this fast-paced, madcap tale that reminds me of a quirky melding of The Da Vinci Code and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. A great deal of the book’s charm rests in the raw feel of the work. Surprisingly, the over-sized, trade paperback format and a few scattered typos within add to its immediacy and appeal. The often-humorous revelations about human nature, presented through Dave Chalmers’ experiences, also have impact of a serious nature. After reading The Coming of the Walrus, it is easy to find oneself contemplating the big picture and marveling at the monumental battles between good and evil that raged in the 1960’s.

Even with the abundant humor straining to burst from between the covers of this book, readers can still believe that, perhaps, not everything about the Walrus is mere legend. Perhaps even peace, love, and understanding… So, dear readers, dive in for a swim with this Walrus, but watch out for the Roly-Poly Man!

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