Review copy provided courtesy of the author.
Hank Williams (but not that Hank Williams) breaks out of a mental institution with the aid of a ginger cat named Sid, and goes on a not so magical journey across a gray wasteland in search of his lost love Patsy Cline (but not that Patsy Cline).
This Hasn't Been a Very Magical Journey So Far is a skillful blending of elements that shouldn't work as well together as they do. The moments of obscene humor should cheapen the insightful looks at grief and mental illness, and the clear connections between the institution and the bizarre purgatory should lessen the moment that everything comes together--but instead everything compliments each other beautifully. The chapters are short (sometimes even abrupt) and I loved that each chapter felt like a snapshot of a very specific moment, memory, or feeling.
Hank Williams is a sympathetic protaganist, a troubled man struggling to cope with the grief of losing his true love, the equally troubled (if not more so) Patsy Cline. Sid the cat isn't quite so sympathetic, or all that likeable really, but he still has his vulgar charm. They create an interesting contrast to each other, and in the end they are two sides of the same coin searching for something they lost.
No matter how surreal things get the story always feels grounded, and so full of truth. While it might not be a very magical journey, it is a very insightful, funny, and profound journey, and I'm looking forward to future works from Homeless.