Turn The Page: 6 Sick Hipsters by Rayo Casablanca
This was the perfect book for someone like me to read — damn, I got every reference in it. Is that something to be worried about? Well, it would be if I were one of the main characters in the book because that is what seemingly marks you out for death at the hands of Doctor Jeep.
The world that Casablanca creates is one that, if it is not totally familiar to the reader, will at least draw them into its web through the culture it is embedded in. A certain group of people are going to be nodding in the same way the central characters are at every piece of music, every film, every figure mentioned.
There is a satirical creature moving around in this hipster novel’s skin though, one that dissects the culture as it lays it out there — and there will be some feeling of it having been an autopsy by the end. Harrison and Beth Ann, our protagonists are part of the in-group but are slightly out of step with them at the same time — a useful distancing device to allow them to act as the reader’s representative in the story. They are likeable, worryingly so when you consider some of the shit that they get up to.
A thing I found to be somewhat strange is that the action of the first half of the book kind of sneaks in — seems somewhat muted, but the point where everything changes, and you will know when it comes along, represents a change in tone and speed that is akin to someone slamming the pedal to the metal. You feel seriously beaten up by the end, changed in a way that all books should strive to change you. I’m not saying that’s a permanent change but I sat there and thought about what I had read for a decent amount of time.
It’s obvious the intelligence working behind the narrative from the start, but whereas it is like the hidden motion of clockwork in the first half of the book, it becomes something that redefines all that has gone before and it say important things about the modern world and where hipsterism sits within that. The ideas that are brought to bear on everything in the latter chapters of the book made me go from considering this as a good read to a great fucking book.
Throughout you have well-drawn characters, a three-dimensional world to walk around in, and convincing action delivered in a fluid manner that never sells the ideas short. You will come out of it with a different idea of what hipsters are, what 6 Sick Hipsters means as a title, and what your own relationship with culture is all about. One for the hipsters for sure, but one that people who love a good read will definitely lap up.