An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil

An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil

An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil

by Jim Munroe

No Media Kings

The epistolary novel — a story told through a series of letters — is nothing new. However, in An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil, author Jim Munroe adds a modern twist, structuring events via letters sent to an anonymous and unknown audience: blog posts.

Kate’s blog begins innocently enough, describing her twenty-youngthing alt-dot life, working at an art gallery, dealing with the Toronto indie scene and its assorted (and familiar characters). However, it starts getting weird when she walks in on roommate Lilith in the midst of what appears to be some sort of demonic ritual, with pentagrams, burnt offerings and chanting in strange tongues. Lilith readily admits to a non-standard childhood, the daughter of serious practitioners of some eldritch religion involving witchcraft, incantations and demons.

Meanwhile, Kate, dissatisfied with the artless stupor of her gallery day job, decides to turn a downstairs shopfront, technically part of their apartment, into a miniature art gallery of its own. As part of the opening event, she convinces Lilith to perform her ritual. It goes over like gangbusters, and before we know it, Kate, Lilith, and two dudes are driving across the country with this strange performance art piece, loosely centered on the ritual, opening for indie bands.

Romantic entanglements — unforeseen, right? — ensue, and for all its way-off-the-mainstream nature, our touring act can’t help but encounter the tired litany of woes that befalls anyone trying to live in a van from gig to gig. Our story reaches a fevered pitch in a bayou rave, where events strobe like light and shadows from a bonfire. Is Lilith consumed by her magickal upbringing? Is it really as dark as it’s made to seem? Munroe handily twists in a surprise ending, making what could have been a saccharine outcome into something that ends happily but solidly.

Jim Munroe’s style is clear and engaging, and he takes great advantage of the whole blog-post format, weaving fantasy sequences and long gaps between updates into part of the action. More importantly, it captures the tone of the so-called “blog revolution” — not in an analytical way, but in more of a demonstration of what the blog zeitgeist has yielded, a window into the drama of everyday life. Given such a magical toolbox, it’s remarkable that Munroe never overdoes it, putting style ahead of substance.

An Opening Act is a great read, a definite page-turner. The book is independently published with zeal by the author himself, and his No Media Kings website is also a comprehensive reference for those wishing to do the same, or to visit some of the more esoteric of Munroe’s amusements and thoughts.

No Media Kings: www.nomediakings.org

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

  • Demons/Demons 2
    Demons/Demons 2

    Synapse Films reissues Lamberto Bava’s epic ’80s gore-filled movies Demons and Demons 2 in beautiful new editions.

  • Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson
    Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson

    Searching for the Disappearing Hour (Pyroclastic Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Payal Kapadia
    Payal Kapadia

    Earlier this year, director Payal Kapadia was awarded the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival for her debut feature, A Night of Knowing Nothing. Lily and Generoso interviewed Kapadia about her poignant film, which employs a hybrid-fiction technique to provide a personal view of the student protests that engulfed Indian colleges and universities during the previous decade.

  • Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

    A classic children’s tale re-imagined by America’s greatest composers.

  • Taraka
    Taraka

    Welcome to Paradise Lost (Rage Peace). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • AFI Fest 2021
    AFI Fest 2021

    The 2021 edition of the American Film Institute’s Festival, was a total success. After mounting a small virtual festival in 2020, AFI Fest came roaring back this year with a slate of 115 films representing over fifty countries. Lily and Generoso rank their favorite features from this year’s festival which include new offerings from Céline Sciamma, Miguel Gomes, and Jacques Audiard.

  • Comet Of Any Substance
    Comet Of Any Substance

    Full Of Seeds, Bursting With Its Own Corrections (COAS). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

From the Archives