Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Reading - Rough House

Rough House by Thaddeus Rutkowski

The narrator's father, a half-mad father, violent Eastern European artistAwaves around a deer rifle and talks about becoming a sniper, between cigarettes, beers, bouts of abusiveness and unpredictable mercy. His Chinese mother is subservient, and much-suffering; she buffers herself from the dysfunctional family by quoting Buddhist wisdom, out of context and badly translated. The narrator's sister runs away from home at 14 to escape her father's incestuous sex play. Enduring the ethnic taunts of neighborhood kids who engage in games of torture and sadism, the narrator turns his rage and neurotic guilt inward: he pours hot melted wax on his skin and puts paper bags over his head and sets them on fire. The novel's second half, in which the narrator escapes from his family, goes to college and moves to New York City, plunges him into sex, drugs and sadomasochistic bondage.