I’ve been reading Jordan Krall’s books out of order. I’m not sure why. I seem to have started with the longer ones of late and have worked my way down to the shorter books. After reading Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys, Fistful of Feet, Squid Pulp Blues, and King Scratch, in that order, I’ve finally gotten around to reading Piecemeal June.
This book was Krall’s rookie effort for Eraserhead Press, and you can definitely see why people have paid attention to his work from the beginning. If there’s one word that comes to mind when trying to describe this book, it would be “solid.” The plot is solid, the world is solid, and the characters are solid, even if we don’t see all of it.
Piecemeal June is the story of Kevin, a loner in a dead-end job who lives above a porn shop with a tarot-card obsessed cat named Mithra. Mithra begins bringing home what appears to be trash at first, until Kevin realizes that they are parts of a realistic sex doll who, when assembled, comes to life and identifies herself as June. In the meantime, they’re pursued by a pornographer who believes the doll belongs to him and a god of the Second World (we are in the First World) who loves her.
For a book about a sex doll, a pornographer, and beings cobbled together from various body parts, I’m surprised that there weren’t more graphic adult situations in this story, but the amount worked just right. It’s actually not gratuitous, but is really what is necessary to drive the story. Again, however, Krall seems to have an affinity for writing characters who have trouble controlling their bowels.
While the story is short and there’s not a whole lot of space to develop the characters, it felt as though there was a lot going on under the surface that we don’t see, giving them some depth. And the story, as I said, is quite solid and ties together quite well…sort of.
Let me explain this by saying that there are two main problems with this novel. The first and most obvious is that there are editing problems. Usually, I can overlook a few errors, but the errors here are numerous enough to be distracting, and I have to take a half-star off the final score in this case.
The second problem is the aforementioned issue with the plot. It’s really good and absorbing all the way through…and then ends suddenly. I mean very suddenly. It’s like the plot slammed into a brick wall at 70 MPH. I almost wonder if Krall either wrote himself into a corner or simply got bored with it and just decided to end it then and there. This is really disappointing because it was such a great story and I was ready to give the book a higher rating up until that point.
Piecemeal June is definitely worth your time, especially for it being a rookie effort from a talented bizarro author. Just keep in mind that it will end very abruptly and not in the most satisfying manner.
Piecemeal June by Jordan Krall earns four sex doll parts out of five.