Book review: Pontypool by Tony Burgess

Pontypool

I have an unfortunate habit of buying books on a whim, simply because they remind of something else: another book, a TV show, or maybe there is just THAT feeling that I will like this book. Heavens know how many times I was mistaken. Especially, since I am plagued by a chronic aversion to summaries and back cover blurbs. (Meaning, most of the time I have no idea what the book is about until I start reading it. Isn’t it fun? Trying to justify a purchase without reading a book is my personal nightmare.)

I was browsing Arts & Letters section at Indigo, wondering if I might by some chance find anything by Terence Rattigan (even though I knew perfectly well that there were no plays in stock – I am an eternal optimist), when I came across this little play. The name caught my eye for an obvious connection with the author of  A Clockwork Orange, but when I looked at the cover my first thought was – “It is so Welcome to Night Vale – esque!”.

 

I purchased Pontypool after only briefly skimming the back cover (and being appalled at the price of almost $18 for a 50 paged book). I admit that I probably would have left it on the shelf if I hadn’t a bit of money left on my gift certificate. Therefore, I left the store with Pontypool, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” by Tom Stoppard and a dotted Leuchtturm notebook.

 

What was rather unusual about this purchase was that I, the procrastinator of procrastinators, read Pontypool on the same day of purchase. Hooray!

 

Here is a bit of a back story.

 

Pontypool is a script which was originally written for a radio drama and then was turned into a film script only to be eventually produced on theatre stage. It is based on the novel called “Pontypool Changes Everything” which is book 2 in The Pontypool Trilogy. (And ain’t that confusing!) However, I believe you can read the script without really missing out on anything from the trilogy.

 

The copy that I got was published by Playwrights Canada Press in 2015.Tony Burgess is a Toronto born Canadian author and screenwriter. Which made me rather excited as I feel as if I don’t read enough of Canadian authors.

 

Pontypool is set in a small rural town, somewhere in Ontario. The whole story takes place in a radio show studio, which immediately reminded me of Welcome To Night Vale podcast series. The host of the show, Grant Mazzy, may not be Cecil, but the events that develop in that radio station are both unpredictable and weird, and, let’s be honest, a touch scary. We are talking apocalypsis type of scary here, folks.

 

I don’t to say anything else because it is easy to spoil the plot twist (yes, there is a twist), but I will just quote one sentence from the very first page: “Consider the fateful morning Ms. Colette Piscine swerves her car to miss a cat as she goes across a bridge and has to get fished, alive and shivering, out from the drink.”

 

And if this doesn’t make you want to read this little, bizarre script, then just look at the cover. Isn’t it just very Lovecraftian?

 

Personal rating: 4.5 stars

 

Sources:

More of my book reviews

Leave a Reply