BOOK REVIEW: In Search Of Captain Zero
by James MacLaren
A Surfer’s Road Trip Beyond The End Of
Allan Weisbecker, 2001, Putnam
Van’s in there attempting to keep up with Clapton, as a Spoonful of Wheels of
Fire roars down a road tessellated with time signature quirkiness that seems to
go on forever.
It’s a song I like, but the volume is annoying as hell and it’s almost
impossible to concentrate enough just to find the desired key on this keyboard,
nevermind string a few lucid sentences together.
And if that’s not enough, I just put down one of the damnedest books I’ve ever
read in my life.
Captain Zero has already hit the big time and has been looked over by all the
Right People. Certainly, the thing needs exactly no help from myself.
Which, I guess, is why I haven’t bothered to pick it up until a couple of days
ago, at the local library here in Cocoa Beach.
Anything that hits the big time is usually something I can do without.
Just a personal little deal with me.
AW seems to have finally performed the impossible: SENSIBLY explicated surfing.
That and a whole lot more.
This is a travel book.
This is a surfing book.
This is a drug dealing book.
This is a lost romance book.
This is an introspective lament book.
This is a piercing look at humanity book.
This book is all this and more. Much MUCH more.
The story sort of takes on a life of its own, evolving and growing as it winds
it way along. Things in the beginning are different from things in the middle
and different yet from things at the end. But somehow it all hangs together in
the most uncanny way imaginable.
Aww fuck, I don’t have the faintest clue as to how to describe this one. My very
limited talents as a writer don’t even come close to measuring up to a proper
description of Zero.
Go get it and read it for your own self.
If you surf, and you’ve had to deal with that swarm of brainless idiots who
think they know all about surfing ’cause they watched Fast Times at Dumbfuck
High (and who among us has not had to deal with these dumb asses?) or saw the
latest Eyewitless news presenter breathlessly describing the latest shark attack
(even as they resolutely ignore the serious meatcuttery of the automobile
infrastructure), or any of the other ways that incredibly ignorant fuckheads
manage to acquire bogus information on subjects they are fundamentally incapable
of understanding; tell THEM to read it too. Not that it will do them the least
little good, but at least you’ll rest comfortable in the knowledge that they
were given a fair shot at understanding by yourself. After which, you are
perfectly justified in savaging them verbally or otherwise, whenever they deign
to make an incautious remark that you recognize for the bullshit it really is.