An assemblage of odd activities such as milkings, witchcraft (aka Branding), and burger-flipping, are par for the course in Guillermo Stitch’s second novel, Lake of Urine.
Meet the Wakelings, stars of this rollicking show. Near Tiny Village, Pastor Charles Wakeling, hellbent on saving lascivious women, and his demur (hidden) wife, Rose, raise their game-loving daughter, Emma, under the fastidious care of housekeeper Phinoola Quigg. Emma’s eight marriages produce two daughters, Urine and Noranbole. When they come of age, Emma hires William Seiler, a scientist of a sort, to keep an eye on them. But he has other plans on his mind, as do the girls.
Plans going awry is a dominant theme. In response to husband #5, a writer, Emma confesses, “I’ve never really understood the need for fictional stories” (101). Her declaration is the least of the ironic twists this novel serves. Emma, narrator for much of the story, is unaware that the crazy yarn of which she’s a part is an absurd satire of the sacro-sanct institutions of marriage, religion, politics and corporate business, among other things. Turning the status quo, including chronology, on its head and sideways is this book’s success. The tale toggles between Emma’s, Noranbole’s and Urine’s adventures. Part of the pleasure is finding out how – and if – they all fit together.
True love is celebrated, on the other hand. Noranbole and her beloved, epicurean husband stand by each other despite language barriers, unpredictable market forces, unruly garbage heaps and a mysterious lake stinking up the whole town. Beautiful literary prose, depicting even the most grotesque details, conveys this book’s commitment to what it holds dear.
Reminiscent of Confederacy of Dunces’ bawdy humor and Wes Anderson’s colorful, yet darkly whimsical cinematic compositions, Lake of Urine is a bizarre, raucous love story with ornate surprises at every turn. Author website