Talk about a novel with a gimmick: Krandall Kraus's new book Bardo takes place in a millisecond. Make that a millimillisecond. Fortunately it's an important millimillisecond--that moment when our lives end and the next thing, whatever that may be, takes over.
The term bardo refers to the Tibetan Buddhist concept that there is a stage between life and death, called bardo, when the true nature of things is revealed through a series of thoughts, images, people, and so forth. They are all related to the pivotal moments of your life, even though you might not have known it until now. Perhaps bardo's closest equivalent in Western life is the theory that when you die your entire life flashes in front of your eyes.
The life in question is that of EG, a serious, emotionally scarred gay man of 50 or so. He's had two lovers, a dog that's important to him, a distant father, and a high sex drive that started early. He has an active fantasy life--some things flashing before his eyes never happened but are so real to him that they might as well have. Included are dreams about ending up a Hollywood star who can have any man he wants and fantasies in which he brutally rapes heterosexuals who have persecuted gays.
Bardo is surprisingly successful at accomplishing what it sets out to do. Gay men have an unfortunately close acquaintance with the moment of death, and this book will hit home with many. As Bardo ends, EG's life is revealed, along with his place in the universe, in what must be the most emotionally satisfying millimillisecond of this season.
Plunket is the author of Love Junkie and My Search for Warren Harding.
To learn more about Bardo and Krandall Kraus, visit www.advocate.com
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|Publication:||The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Dec 7, 1999|
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