Discover more from A Book For Ants: Bite-Sized Reviews of Snack-Sized Books
SALMON by Sebastian Castillo
Fed up with what he considers the “dailiness of life”, a poet of middling renown runs off in search of SALMON, a new country - complete with stylised allcaps name - chiselled by war from the outer regions of some other unnamed country. If he was hoping to escape some kind of ordinary grind his wish is quickly fulfilled, though in an incredibly unfulfilling way. He hits all manner of obstacles, from run-down trains to the most hilariously ineffectual gang of pirates I’ve encountered. It’s a lot of fun - almost the next logical step along the Melville to Vila-Matas continuum of Bartlebys.
And then it goes weird. Like, totally Beckett weird. Forget that the Poet refuses to follow the expectations of “life”, the author refuses to follow any of the supposed rules of narrative. Written entirely in dramatic script form, the second half of SALMON is an episodic comedy of errors with a cast of very strange characters who, it seems, are all outcasts from SALMON. The Poet tries to navigate its mushroom heavy social structure to still reach his original destination but is forced into the very life he tried to escape. Joyously bonkers.
Salmon by Sebastian Castillo
Shabby Doll House Press, 2023