One of many literary pleasures this summer was reading the first novel by Seattle wordsmith, photographer, DJ and bon vivant Robert Zverina. "Buzz" is a darkly funny not-quite-coming-of-age story about a young man born in the back of an Oldsmobile just as his namesake Buzz Aldrin sets foot on the moon. Despite what would seem an auspicious entrance, our hero is born under dreadful circumstances, the first in a relentless series of ambiguities that come to define his character. Buzz grows up in an insular world of disillusioned Czech immigrants in which the love for consumer goods - cars, televisions, domestic contraptions - replaces the love of human beings.
The cold world that Buzz inherits turns him into a open-eyed and poetic observer of people and their failings. Again and again he strives and fails to make meaningful connections, and his attempts grow more ridiculous, and more painful, as the book progresses. The true beauty of this book lies in Buzz's honest observations of the uncle who raises him, the lovers he clumsily works to impress, and his equally damaged friends and cohorts. Uncertain in its meaning but exact in its language, Buzz reads like a hopelessly exaggerated true story.
Buzz isn't available in stores, but you can find your own copy right here.