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Monday, January 13, 2014

D. G. Sutter: "Undisputed Champion"

Title: The Laughter of Strangers
Author: Michael J. Seidlinger
Author's webpage:http://michaeljseidlinger.com/
Publisher: Lazy Fascist Press (http://lazyfascistpress.com/)
Genre: Literature
ISBN: 978-1621050971
Available on Amazon

 

 
Reviewed by  D.G. Sutter

 

What is the purpose of identity? It is to dignify the existence of human separation. We are all equally varied in characteristics and personalities. Like two snowflakes, none of us are the same, and unlike Tyler Durden’s philosophy we are all special. In The Laughter of Strangers, Michael Seidlinger challenges the concept of self by giving several faces and facets to the boxer who is, was, and always will be Willem Floures.

 

While identity is a feature set aside for others to differentiate, ego and self-esteem are internal machines to determine identity; the protagonist’s main struggle in the book is discovering the “true” Willem Floures through rigorous tests of both. Is it Sugar, Black Mamba, or Executioner? Seidlinger takes readers on an existentially vagrant journey through the stages of Floures’s life, using boxing matches as vibrant reveries of combat against actions and behaviors of past and present.

 

His prose is clean and concise and he wastes no breath in getting the story across, in passages such as “Looking back all I hear is laughter. All I see is white. All I taste is the ache of my bleeding mouth, tongue numb, my eyes wanting so very much to roll back, have a look at the inside of my broken skull.”

 

There are no extraneous details or descriptions to bore you out of your mind—no—merely conflict in the mind of a character on the path towards self-discovery, categorization, and personal revelation. If you’re looking for a read with a broad degree of settings and action, you will miss out a bit, but Seidlinger makes up for it with honest characters, ones that blend together likes the rounds do for a fighter.

 

As for my recommendation, I would say disappear into the crowd and try, for yourself, not to laugh as the world of Willem Floures crumbles, and thrives, on the southpawed boxer’s back. Be a spectator in his final fight for glory and gratification. Stand in his corner while he battles for inner supremacy and against the throes served by years of publicity. We are all looking for our place in the world, to be understood and find meaning. In the words of Willem Floures:

 

“You had to hurt yourself in order to be heard. You have to continue working, being productive, doing whatever it is that you do to maintain their attention. If no one pays attention to you, you aren’t really alive.”

 

The match starts now.
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