No Happy Nonsense

Year of The Buffalo / Aaron Burch

January 31st, 2023 | Quick Thoughts

This book is indie as hell, I saw this keep getting blurbed by a bunch of small/micro press twitter peeps I followed and just said fuck it and bought the book.

Ernie and Scott Isaacson are brothers who have drifted apart. There wasn't any big like falling out or anything, nothing pronounced. And they haven't really actually drifted from one another, because they were never really that close. But there's a distance between them. It's there.

Scott, a former wrestler who's alter ego was "Mr. Bison," wrestled on presumably the circuit below the big time, is the star character of an upcoming video game. He had nothing to do with it, the creators just loved him, chose him, and asked for his rights afterward. As a result, money has fallen into his and his wife's laps.

They bought a farm. When the video game sold to one of the big distributors, the creators asked Scott what he wanted. He said a buffalo. They got him a baby buffalo.

Ernie and his wife got divorced. He works a generic corporate job. His life is less than ideal. Scott buys two tickets for Ernie and his wife to come to the farm. Only Ernie comes, Scott and Holly realize what that means.

The video game company want Scott to go to a gaming conference to pump up the crowd. The brothers decide to road trip. To bond.

And bond they do.

I really appreciate the type of narrator this book has; it provides the thinking each character does, or at least Ernie as the de facto main character. How when talking with someone, you think to ask a question, but don't, not for any major reason or anything, you just don't, and then you realize seconds later why your question was dumb, and are glad you didn't ask it, and then completely move on. There's lots of that in the narration.

I don't know, it's a weird little premise and somewhat whimsical in a realistic way. The main drama of the story is two brothers awkwardly getting reacquainted with one another through conversation during their multi-day roadtrip. It felt very realistic; how it would be hard to sort of grip back into a relationship with someone who you should be close with, but aren't. But it was also still possible, still easier than you anticipate.

I liked the book. It's short, but I would've kept reading if there was more.

Filed Under: Reviews