Milk, Sulphate, and Alby Starvation By Martin Millar
Read How You Want, (2012)
EasyRead Large Print, in 16 Point Font (Originally Published in Standard Print by Soft Skull Press)
Reviewed by Boris Segel - May 17, 2012
Milk, Sulphate, and Alby Starvation is an odd little story that follows the adventures of Alby Starvation, an obsessive and paranoid comic book collector and card-carrying weirdo (I'm being nice here). He is also an occasional drug dealer who is allergic to everything, including milk. When he gives up milk, he finds that all his other aliments are cured, and he starts to offers his cure-all to all. This in turn, brings upon him the ire of the Milk Marketing Board who is dismayed to find that people are following Alby's advice, and milk sales are literally drying up. To correct the situation, they come up with a unique solution. They decide to have Alby assassinated. Now Alby's finds himself on the run from hit-men sent by the Milk Marketing Board, and being paranoid to start with, Alby finds that he simply cannot trust anyone!
Sounds awful. Doesn't it? Well your wrong! I loved this book. Genre wise, I would classify it as a typical oddball type of fiction that is bound to gain a cult following and one that will someday be turned into a blockbuster film that will have everyone singing the praises of Martin Millar, the author of this unique tale. In part because it is filled with such an eccentric assortment of characters, including a beautiful but deadly Brazilian assassin and of course, there are the comic books, which stand in as a character all on their own.
The story is narrated by Alby, and the story is both frenetic and witty. Alby is from Brixton, England, and he seems to run into every manner of downtrodden individuals who might haunt the periphery of a modern urban center. The story jumps around a lot, with characters coming and going like a revolving door, so much so that it is hard to say if this story even has a central plot. It reads more like just a jumble of interconnected events that, in the end, all seem to meld together into a satisfying whole. Yet even after reading through the entire story, it is still really hard to say exactly what the story was about, other than to say that is definitely about the everyday life of a paranoid man who has every right to be paranoid because, after all, someone is really and truly out to get him! Absurd, funny, and addictive, take a trip into Alby's world, but be warned, when you come out you might find yourself looking over your shoulder...
Milk, Sulphate, and Alby Starvation is available from Read How You Want, an on-demand publisher that makes books available in a variety of formats including Braille, DAISY, and five different large print formats. This range of formats makes this, and other books, available not only to visually impaired individuals, but also anyone with a reading or physical disability that makes reading standard print books difficult.
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, by Mordecai Richler.
The rise and fall of Duddy, the young rouge who struggles out of the Montreal slums to find fame and fortune - but at what price? A humorous and cautionary tale that is regarded by many as a modern classic.
The Bug, by Richard Strand.
Conspiracy theories abound in this amusing tale of bureaucracy gone astray.