Caleb J. Ross' booklikes

The official booklikes blog of author Caleb J. Ross.

Major Inversions

Major Inversions - Gordon Highland (this review originally appeared at Outsider Writers CollectiveGordon Highland’s Major Inversion is a first-person meta-tale dominated by the seductive and confident Drew Ballard, 80’s tribute and Jazz fusion guitarist by night, commercial jingle scribe and drug enthused security guard by day. Highland writes with a narrative voice so full of wit and humor, it would be wise to read with a cynical cock-blocking fat friend at your side; the hair-metal spandex and verbal dexterity can make a persuasive cocktail.Cynically sarcastic, though driven once the “pale and thin – bookish” (27) Layla enters the fold, Ballard jokes his way from jingles to a legitimate film score job, and ultimately into Layla pants, eventually shedding his rock-whore stage persona in favor of exclusivity. But despite the promise, Ballard’s upward trend does not last.Major Inversions incorporates metafictional elements to immerse the reader, beyond even the ability of Ballard’s wit. References to the book itself permeate the text (“I’m getting better at this putting-one-word-in-front-of-another thing…Little periods every now and then to break it up for your short-assed attention span” [76:]) and casual asides jolt the reader into introspection (when discussing his own adoption with a therapist the idea of journaling his experiences opens for the seemingly innocent, “Now there’s a novel idea” [238:]). But the most obvious and unique meta-element is the inclusion of song lyrics, complete with chord progressions, which act as distilled moments of clarity, delivered perhaps in the way Ballard naturally thinks:During a scene when DEA agents break into Ballard’s home (143):Am Bm7b5 Cmaj7You can drown all your sorrowsB/Eb Eadd9But they learn to swim(NOTE: GoodReads's editor doesn't allow the chords to appear directly over their corresponding lyric. Trust me, in the print version the chords appear correctly. Click here for an example.)With the early introduction of Barron Vaughn, Major Inversions begins its true arc. The cable installer turned roommate, true to his “reptilian” (43) features, integrates his way into Ballard’s residence then life then personal arc in surprising ways. He is the story’s lurking demon, an arresting presence in all his scenes.Major Inversions, from its “shitty” opening scene, to its final tragicomic pages simply works. You will likely not read a funnier book for quite some time.