by Jack Remick

Coffeetown Press, $16.95 345 pages

This story follows Eddie Iturbi, a young man from California running away from his past. His goal: San Francisco, and one of the last living beat poets. Eddie arrives in San Francisco aiming to become a great poet, and soon enters into the dark, magical world that poets inhabit. Whether communing with the ghosts of Kerouac, or becoming a silent hermit at a highly exclusive writing camp, Eddie soon realizes poetry only comes from blood, sweat and sacrifice.

This book doesn’t have much going for it, but those few positives make the whole reading experience worth it. The best part of The Deification is the author’s writing style. With the story focusing on beat poetry, Jack Remick has excluded quotation marks and line breaks in conversation to mimic great beat writers. The main character’s perseverance and unceasing drive prove to the reader time and again that, with dreams and goals, any unfortunate circumstance can be overcome.

The mystery and magical realism that permeates the story makes it exceptionally difficult to understand and keep up with. Because it rarely indicates when time is changing, fantastical elements make an already confusing story even more challenging to understand. The secondary characters are also shallow and unbelievable. Many follow a stereotypical path; religious paranoid, homosexual prostitute, and poetic stripper are just some of the stock characters included to fill out the story. In spite of several shortcomings, The Deification is a book truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Andrew Keyser