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Wed August 15, 2012
Author: Tito Perdue
Publisher: Nine-Banded Books
Price: $12.00 (paper)
Tito Perdue of Centerville, Alabama, now the author of seven published novels, has a small readership but has received a few extraordinary reviews over the years. His fiction is disturbing, difficult to categorize, even to describe.
Perdue’s voice is singular and original. One does not have the feeling reading “The Node” that he is imitating or even much influenced by previous writing.
And, to the best of my knowledge, no one is imitating him.
Tito Perdue’s novels are quasi-science fiction, futuristic, and usually involve a dystopia. Nearly everything, as he sees it, has gone wrong.
He has a vision all his own—strong, eccentric, one might say conservative, libertarian, even reactionary. But it is satiric, thoughtful, sometimes very funny and often bitter. The characters are nostalgic, usually for Perdue’s Golden Age: the American 1950’s. A favorite film in “The Node” is “Casablanca,” with a hero who “looked as if he could have gone through life with minimal assistance.”
Most of Perdue’s fictions are set in a South of the future, about a century hence. This culture is post –post-modern and, to Perdue’s heroes, disgusting. Love has died, replaced by emotionless physicality, “hooking-up” taken to a soulless extreme. There are even coin-operated sex machines.
All hierarchy, taste, judgment have been eliminated. An enforced “equality” reigns. There is widespread greed and ignorance; television has replaced literature. The major occupations are public relations, advertising and “facilitator.”
“The Node,” like most Perdue novels, is picaresque, a journey. The protagonist has joined a node of “Cauks,” a beleaguered minority living in an urban fortress, in, perhaps, Louisville. There are enough Cauks to perhaps start another small colony, so the hero and a few others set out for what may be Chattanooga. The countryside is mostly empty because almost the entire U.S. population has moved to the coasts, despite widespread flooding. Most of Brooklyn is under water.
Nearly everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong.
This is a post-apocalyptic world, reminiscent of Cormac MacCarthy’s “The Road.” There are still some plants and animals, but not many. Armadillos are a major source of nourishment. The earth is nearly barren and people feel it safer to come out at night because the sun emits dangerous chlorides and sulfates and there is also a more or less perpetual acid rain.
But this is also an Orwellian world, with an oppressive, tyrannical government. All must sign anti-tobacco pledges, and tobacco “proctors” roam the streets, ready to arrest anyone caught smoking. Circumcision is mandatory. Xenophobes are euthanized.
Husbands must walk 30 feet behind their wives. Sexual harassment counseling is also mandatory.
In this world political correctness, globalism, and the rage for celebrity, diversity and leveling have triumphed to an absurd extent. The U.S. treasury was depleted in a long war in Bolivia, so dollars are worthless; the currency is the Chinese Yuan, and a “unified bust” of Brad and Angelina is stamped on the 2-Yuan piece. Quotas rule. For new books, only seven percent can be in English. Our hero comes upon a cobra in Tennessee. It is explained the snake was put there purposely, cobras having been “underrepresented” in that part of the country.
Perdue claims no interest in a wide readership, but I can imagine a devoted following among the like-minded. You know who you are.