Argonne Hotel Press ISBN 1-887641-42-4 $10
"O Youth, O Age in this Peter-Pan-grunge,
walking-'60s-wounded, slacker-nostalgia novel about latterday Bohemia
keeping the only faith it has, which is to say the belief that music,
art, sex, drugs, brand-names and dancing will save it from . . .
whatever. The joys, despairs and fatalism of endless basement-apartment
hedonism are collected here like fireflies in a jar."
Sugar Mountain is a novella, a triptych, and Richard Peabody's first extended fiction to find its way into print. The book is a semi-experimental look at three generations featuring Hal and his ex-wife Mona, and their daughter Taylor. Each is presented a different way. We meet Taylor through the pages of her journal, Mona through phone monologues, and Hal in third person. There are three minor characters-Sealy, Taylor's best friend, who is also sleeping with Hal; Zodiac, the rave dj who's sleeping with Taylor; plus an unnammed guitarist. Imagine American Beauty combined with Wonder Boys combined with High Fidelity as written by George Pelecanos (for all the DC local color) and you've got the basic mix. There's also lots of stuff in here about crows, Neil Young, Bethany Beach, raves, sex, drugs and forgotten DC history.
"Sugar Mountain is a gripping post-modern study of the disintegration
of the soul in a world where personal mythology is shaped by icons
of popular culture, where we define each other and ourselves by impersonal
references: the bars, the restaurants, the music, the art, the movie
stars and Kama Sutra positions we prefer. Using multiple points of
view and disruptive asides, Rick Peabody conveys a world of alienation
and loss in our nation's capital, a place where three lives play
out the inevitable betrayals of body and soul. It's a dark and comic
look at how hungry we are for connection and how we can become innocently
and ignorantly lost."