Caleb J. Ross' booklikes

The official booklikes blog of author Caleb J. Ross.

Immobility - Brian Evenson

Immobility is about an amnesiac man named Horkai, and in typical amnesic style Horkai begins this novel having no idea who he is, where he is, or who those around him are. So, he must trust the word of those around him, namely a man named Rasmus. Rasmus tells Horkai that he has been brought out of a cryogenic state after 30 or so years and must go on a mission to retrieve something for Rasmus. So, Horkai does.


Now the first half of the novel plays around with Horkai's alternating discovery of and hesitation to accept his surrounds. It's a typical blank memory novel for a while. But then, the novel quickly becomes so much more. It becomes, what I interpret, as a commentary on organized religion, specifically the aggressive, and perhaps selfish, nature of religions missionaries.


See, during Horkai's journey, he finds people who seem very willing, eager even, to help him. They seem trustworthy. And each time, the reader is lulled into a sense of trust. We want to believe these people are truly out to help Horkai. But they never are.


Evenson's own struggles with organized religion are documented online, so I won't go into them here, but this book feels to me like perhaps his most personal. And this includes The Open Curtain which very much plays with the conventions of Mormonism, and until Immobility, I would have called his most religion-conscious book. And what's interesting is that Immobility does this without overtly calling attention to itself as an exploration of religion.


So even if you don't like long form detestation of religion--all two of you out there, right, because I know you guys like to party heathen style--even if you don't like this kind of book, don't discount it. There's a lot more to love here. For instance, the story takes place in an alternate history setting, post-apocalyptic, similar to Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The main character, Horkai, has no legs and must be carried by two people who are referred to as mules, and who refer to Horkai as a burden. Mix in a bit of The Matrix, some sci-fi elements, and sprinkle a bit of pestled Viagra, which must be in there because I was rock hard while reading this.