The first time I read Tim O’ Donnell’s Lake Gut, I turned my head to the side, made a serious bleugh sound, pretended to throw up and said things like ‘dude,’ ‘gnarly,’ and ‘gross’. It was awesome.
In spirit, Lake Gut is what happens when you take two quintessential features of puberty–eating gross things in front of people for money + sex–and make some kind of hideous literary sandwich. There’s no summarizing it. Not only does saying anything about it give something away–and there are so many things to give away–but Tim’s prose is filled with a rich and quiet poetics that synopsis simply doesn’t do justice. As Chuck, uhm, ‘consummates’ with Holly, for example,
He grunted, froze, let a warm wisp in Holly’s ear.
“Awesome,” he gurgled.
Almost unnoticed, it’s these kind of descriptions–these transformations almost, this vision–that take something merely textual and turns it into real world. And for better or for worse, Tim’s world is framed with awkwardness, confusion, misinformation, undue influence from pornography, and vomit. God help us if it rings true.