After reading this beautifully artistic prose, I find myself at a loss for words, perhaps out of some vein self-imposed egoist urge to
somehow outwit and out write the author, when one of my mediocre artistic talents is writing. Indeed this story tells as much about the author as it does me.
This book definitely isn’t for everyone. Some knowledge of counterculture is necessary. More specifically, readers would be at an advantage to have knowledge of post-20th century hippie counterculture. I myself am beginning to encounter this culture in various realms of my life, and in the previous year have gained enough knowledge that I am satisfied I’m picking up 90% of what’s shared in the hidden meanings and symbolisms of the eloquent writing presented in Blues4Kali.
As suggested by the author, speed-reading would not do this story justice and indeed I read many passages multiple times. Thus readers will be treated to the literary value of two to three books in this single volume. Furthermore, the philosophy involved is not a simple counterculture viewpoint “against the man.” The story, narrated from the point of view of a reluctant skeptic yet thoroughly involved activist, incorporates the viewpoint that dominant popular culture is clueless, but also that mainstream counterculture is under scrutiny for practices that strangely mirror the culture it so much protests.
An instant love for the protagonist burgeons as counterculturist and skeptic alike are exposed to her personality immediately upon entering the story. Meanwhile readers are treated to phrases and cultural symbols in a delightfully witty manner that brings them subtly yet quickly into the essence of the characters’ environment of “festies” and west coast counterculture (as a Midwesterner, this is something I myself am still learning). And so in the dichotomy of inner dialogue the protagonist shares with herself, many levels of the questions of counterculture arise.
In one split second, the main character, Amana, finds herself wishing to (but not) flipping off a lumber mill because they destroy the environment, while shortly after thinking of a parody of a popular TV commercial that regular society might not get. At the same time, she is complacent to actually flip off the lumber mill, because she is a realist in that simple symbolic gestures do not affect real change. And during all this she acknowledges that she is fully understanding and appraised of modern standard culture through her TV reference. What’s more is while her vehicle she is driving in runs on vegetable oil to show independence from oil, a non-sustainable fuel, she is still driving a combustion engine vehicle, fueling the non-sustainable aspect of vehicle manufacturing.
All these thoughts can be raised from a single paragraph of this dense florid prose that connoisseurs of 21st century counterculture literature (if this genre even yet exists) will find equally entertaining, witty, insightful, and, in a single-stroke, profoundly yet curtly inquisitive.
Certainly past generations have had their Kerouacs and their Robert Anton Wilsons. Our generation has neither yet. In the search for contemporary meaning, we look to the lesser known writers for our guidance. Hidden among the vastness of the internet, out in somewhere unknown possibly on the west coast, a writer speaks out with fervor, tenacity, and a very healthy dose of humor about her own search for meaning through a not-so-simple façade of “everyday” counterculture experience.
Rather than telling us what counterculture is about, Blues4Kali intimates to us why it is, why we’re drawn to it, and why we have so much trouble in believing something we want to believe so badly.