“Prove you are alive. Prove it.” In Atomik Aztex, Sesshu Foster takes a deep breath and conjures a loopy, violent multiverse in which “78 rpm realities” spin one after the other, for a monstrously comic opera in which life and death, glory and degradation, possible pasts and feverish futures collide on cue. Call it Slaughterhouse Jive: narrator Zenzontli is a powerful Aztec warrior attacking the Nazis at Stalingrad in 1942—or a killing floor drudge at an East L.A. meat factory, hallucinating his way out of history to the aroma of naked lunch.
In this delirious first novel—part Mumbo Jumbo, part The Man in the High Castle—poet Foster has the “proper energy vibe” to make the whole thing fly. He Herrimaniacally eschews the hard c in favor of k (“Wake that man up there, I have something kool to say”), unleashes Beat-like stretches of indentless, incantatory prose, and chocks his text with W. B. Yeats and penis-enlargement ads.
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