Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Valley of Day-Glo

Valley of Day-Glo by Nick DiChario
Robert J Sawyer Books, copyright 2008
Hardcover, 240 pages
ISBN-13: 9780889954106
highly recommended
Broadway Danny Rose is on the move!
In this brightly satiric, postapocalyptic novel of the far future, a young Indian brave named Broadway Danny Rose embarks upon a quest across the desolate planet Earth to find the mysterious Valley of Day-Glo, where plants and animals and large bodies of water are rumored to still exist, and where, according to legend, "death becomes life."
Valley of Day-Glo is a brilliant blend of Douglas Adams' farcical humor and Kurt Vonnegut's droll absurdity. Hugo Award-nominee Nick DiChario delivers a witty and poignant story that deals with the power of myth, the search for truth, and the meaning of life and death.
My Thoughts:
Valley of Day-Glo by Nick DiChario is a post-apocalyptic novel where tribes of natives are all that's left in a dry, desolate wasteland where the white men, or Honio’o, all perished (along with the yellow and dark skinned people)in the Great Reddening. Broadway Danny Rose is a member of what is left of the Gushedon’dada tribe. He and his mother, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe, are taking his dead father, The Outlaw Josey Wales, to the mythical Valley of Day-Glo. His father told stories about the existence of the Eden-like valley where death becomes life. The dangerous journey to the valley takes them through the lands of other hostile tribes.
Now, if that description makes you think this is a sad, serious tale of struggle and woe, then you need to know that Valley of Day-Glo is at times entertaining, philosophical, humorous, original, and warped. DiChario himself calls Valley of Day-Glo absurdist fiction, and while it is absurd it is also much more. In the introduction, Nancy Kress says to DiChario, "You have a very warped mind."(pg 9) but she goes on to say: "His warp may be fanciful and wildly inventive, but his cross-threads are deadly serious. They are love and the price that love exacts, violence and the grief it causes, striving and the ways that striving can be twisted by the larger world. Nick's tapestry is a life-like design of brilliant, heart-breaking colors, including that imaginative warp." (pg. 10)
Nick DiChario is a very talented writer, and Broadway Danny Rose is an unforgettable (and rumored impotent) hero who seemingly stumbles through life constantly being confronted with human stupidity along the way. This is a highly original novel in many ways but also archetypal in others.  Oh, and definitely read the "Book Club Guide" at the end of the novel. It will be well worth your time... maybe.
highly recommended   

The day Mother Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? killed Father The Outlaw Josey Wales, they were arguing again about the Pre-Reddening game of Major League Baseball. opening
Here is another tale Father The Outlaw Josey Wales used to tell before Mother Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? strangled him to death:
There is a valley that glows brightly called the Valley of Day-Glo, where all the colors of the pre-Reddening Earth can be found. Flowers are in constant bloom there. Trees reach up so far into the sky that it is impossible to know where the branches end and the clouds begin. Water flows freely. Fruits and vegetables flourish. In the Valley of Day-Glo, Father used to say, "death becomes life." pg. 13
Out of all the Gushedon’dada in the worlds, Mother was my least favorite, as I was her least favorite. The irony that we two should be the only surviving Gushedon’dada must have come as an equally crushing blow to Mother as it had to me. pg. 14
Mother placed the Tribal Jug in the dirt, stepped aside, and said with an intonation of pride in her voice, "This is an original Igloo water cooler." pg. 18
You win some, you lose some, Father seemed to be saying from behind his death mask in his old familiar way. But wait, wait, I saw him move. He slowly shook his head, opened his death-glazed eyes, looked at me, and then he said:
"Hey, Danny Boy, what's going on in the Land of the Living?" pg. 27
"Ha-Ha!" she called from deep in her belly. "This must be the infamous asexual boy named Broadway Danny Rose we have heard so much about." pg. 29
"Didn't it hurt you to be treated so poorly? Why did you live such a lie for so long?"
I nodded, not at all understanding. "I have never been in love."
"I know. I'm sorry about that. I always loved your mother. That is the one thing I would miss if anything mattered over here in the Land of the Dead. I would miss loving your mother." pg. 5-56

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