Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys by Jordan Krall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Upon reading the title, your first thought may be “What exactly is an Apocalypse Donkey?” For the answer to this question, please call 1-800-APOCADONK.
Okay, so my first thought on reading Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys by Jordan Krall was that the author needs to lay off the acid for a bit. This one gets weird. Like, really weird. But then again, it has to. How else can you fit nudists, donkey masks, green hummingbirds, and blueberry pancakes in the same narrative?
Henry delivers sporting goods to a nudist colony for his uncle, Vincent. As such, he’s allowed to periodically “hang out” (get it?), and at one points meets an older woman wearing a donkey mask which she never takes off. While the two have their tryst (she’s cheating on her ex-dare-devil husband, Bill, although he’s well aware of her infidelity, not to mention his own), Henry is also dealing with Gary, who believes (i.e., obsessed) that Henry could get him a copy of one of the rarest movies in existence, “The Apocalypse Donkey.” A murder, a kidnapping, a not-quite orgy, a director’s cut, blueberry pancakes, and general mayhem later, and you’re left asking “What did I just read?”
But the thing is, like “The Apocalypse Donkey” and blueberry pancakes, it sticks with you. You keep reading, wondering where it’s going, and afterwords you keep thinking about it and wonder where it went. This is the mark of a good writer, making you continue to think about the book long after it’s done. Like blueberry pancakes, you’ll keep digesting it over and over. And in the end, you realize things really couldn’t have gone any other way.
When reading this book, you’ll also need to be sure that you read the Afterword by Matthew Revert. This is a little gem tucked in at the end that I’m concerned being an Afterword will get largely ignored by many who read the book. Written as an alternate history and telling the tale of the “original” Jordan Krall (as explained in the Foreword) and production and publication of the Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys, the best way I can describe it is “mind-numbingly hysterical.”
Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys by Jordan Krall earns 4 out of 5 stars.