Thursday, 11 June 2020

Plumas de Muerte by Phil Motel


Plumas de Muerte: Tequila Journals and Dreams by Phil Motel
Published by PdM Publishing on the 5th May 2020.

A Found Them On Twitter read

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Life in a long-stay motel, overseen by the on-site muscle: 'if this was a movie, he'd be played by Steve Buscemi'. Twelve-hour shifts at a mundane job alongside a host of strange characters with their own struggle to make it to the end of the day. Anecdotes from journals of adventures past: wannabe musicians, ill-fated relationships and the bottom of a bottle. 

Musings on life, death, dreams, and the frustrations of the writing process: the journal entries were written while during the creation of the author's debut novel, Rum Hijack.

Dream Diary
The second part of Plumas de Muerte is as it says: a small collection of dreams: what goes on while we are asleep?

A raw ride that makes no attempt to gloss over the darker side of the author's life at the time, while acting as a cautionary tale about the nightmare of substance abuse - and the final road of alcoholism/addiction.

Plumas De Muerte is one very dark read! Essentially a memoir of what was happening in Phil Motel's real life during the time in which he wrote his novel Rum Hijack (a book I now absolutely Have to read!), I often felt very uncomfortable as I turned the pages. Reading this journal, I think, was akin to remotely observing someone falling apart, emotionally and physically, and being powerless to step in and stop them. The vivid prose allowed me to imagine that I was actually there in the moment and also to witness Motel's gradual mental decline from the more distant perspective of a reader after the fact.

It's rare that I don't read each book I pick up from cover to cover before starting on the next. I like to be completely immersed in one atmosphere at a time and not to run the risk of mixing up narrative lines. With Plumas De Muerte however, that approach was impossible to maintain. I needed breathing space especially on the occasions where the realities of Motel's increasingly habitual alcoholism veered just a little too close to home. His journal entries clearly depict someone who is only just clinging on, surrounded by people who are just as desperate in their own ways.

Plumas De Muerte, obviously, isn't the kind of book that I will enthusiastically rave about to everyone, but I know Literary Flits has some visitors who would really appreciate this work. If you're still reading at this point, you're probably one of them! Readers who liked On The Road (Jack Kerouac), Gotta Find A Home (Dennis Cardiff) or Ablutions (Patrick deWitt) - give Plumas De Muerte a try.


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