For our friend Cotard everything falls apart. Everything falls apart. Everything…
Having been through a nasty breakup recently, the memories of his ex and their time together continue to haunt him. After she moves out, he discovers that the apartment they used to share is infested with roaches, who happen to have some big, mysterious plans for our protagonist.
So what are the strong points of “I Will Rot Without You?” I don’t know where to begin. This book is so full of clever analogies, intelligently crude humor, tragedy, and poetic prose, yet all is balanced so perfectly. It is also crazy how well all of it works to build the central theme. One of many passages that stood out to me: “The architecture seemed to pull my body forward toward a vanishing point at the far end of the hall, as if the construction of this room were but a single note played over and over, like a snake charmer’s chattel call, like a compulsively sterile convenience store soundtrack.” The surreal, dreamlike scenes and colorful descriptions never let up as the reader is pulled into Slater’s most accomplished and cohesive yarn yet. The line of roaches passing the bright red mold spores up and into Cotard’s mouth as he slept, and the accompanying dream scenes are good examples.
As far as characters go, they are extremely odd, yet memorable. The reanimated cockroach named Cross was a favorite, keeping me guessing as I pieced together all of what was happening. Hold on, did I mention the body parts? Lots and lots of body parts: Cotard’s neighbor Dee Dee has parts of her jealous lover Cutter sewn to her, ready to keep any and all threats of another man away. The old man in the building who lives with the puppet corpse of his wife seated at the dinner table and says things like “You don’t give someone you love to the dirt.” The protag literally falling apart. Again, all tied into the metaphor of losing the love you truly cherished. We really do continue to carry a piece of that person and our experiences, long after our life has gone other places. Without spoiling anything, I will finish by saying that the ending was a great way to wrap all of this up.
I have anticipated this book for a while now and it was worth the wait. I really have nothing negative to say. I see this one appealing to fans of so many genres, as it ignores many of the typical classifications. Read this!