Review: Night Of The Assholes by Kevin L. Donihe

A change of pace today, I decided to begin reviews of great bizarro books I have read recently or am going to read in the near future. Today’s featured book is Night Of The Assholes by Kevin L. Donihe

This is only the second piece of fiction I have read by Kevin L. Donihe, the first being the brilliant short story “The Greatest Effing Moment In Sports” featured in The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange) – definitely another book worth checking out.

This work is a sublime parody of the film “Night Of The Living Dead”, with references to other cult works being thrown into the mix too (the house & Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre get honourable mentions). The genius of this work lies in the fact that Kevin takes your typical, nay, archetypal zombie story, and radically renovates it. If youve seen the film then you will know the gist of it: an outbreak of unknown origin is turning people into monsters. Only, these monsters are assholes.

The characters from the film are all present and accounted for, with subtle changes to some of them, such as the heroine, Barbara – a whimpering mess who goes crazy in the film is recast as a righteous member of the public who is really trying to control her anger problems: We find that prior to meeting her annoying Hare Krishna brother, she beats up a life size stress doll!
Taking inspiration from Dawn Of The Dead, Barbara is first accosted by the assholes in the mall, rather than a graveyard, and it is established that she could easily become one, save for her human efforts to control the assholish side of her nature. You act as an asshole to an asshole, you end up an asshole.

From there the book delves into a humourous romp that promotes the benefits of smoking marijuana as a way of avoiding becoming an asshole, or failing that, just smoking a cigarette to chill out. Featuring funny exchanges between the characters and the assholes as well as the bickering between the small band of survivors, Kevin shows he knows how to write great dialogue that is full of fun and real zing.

The house the heroes are holed up in has a very surreal structure to it, which Kevin works smoothly into the narrative so the discrepancies in the logic of the building simply go unquestioned, there is no need to question them – the story is nightmarish enough that the bizarre nature of the house seems almost a given.

Ultimately, though this book is a parody, and is definitely not short on humour, it does ask a meaningful question, this time, not about race, but about love. As Todd, the charismatic hero of the book says “Forget black and white, I think there’re only two races that have ever existed: assholes and non-assholes.” We are asked if we must fight the assholes, if that is the only way – Is it not possible to beat them by love instead?

If you enjoyed the film, you’ll really get a kick out of this book. If you read this book without having seen the film you’ll get a kick out of this book and then go see the film because you enjoyed this book so much. Also, you’ll probably want to read more of Kevin L. Donihe’s work.

Read this book. Read it! No? Wrong answer.

buy it from amazon.co.uk here:

Paperback version

you can find a list of all of Kevin’s books available at amazon.co.uk here:

Kevin’s books on Amazon

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