“Certain experiences you can’t survive, and afterward you don’t fully exist, even if you failed to die. You’re here because it’s somewhere. Dogs pant in the streets. Beer won’t stay cold. The last new song you liked came out a long, long time ago, and the radio never plays it anymore.” – Excerpt from the book
Does anyone smell pessimism reading that? Oh you do, don’t you? And you like it, just like you love the smell of gasoline while getting your car pumped. Well, that’s what Nic Pizzolatto usually brings you – A dark pensive state of downbeat outlook through the protagonist’s eyes and mind simmered in the realms of deserted landscapes and endless cigarette puffs.
Like a lot of people, I too decided to look for Nic’s other works after watching his sickeningly mesmeric ‘True Detective’ on HBO which gave the world ‘Rust Cohle’, one of the most riveting characters in the history of TV and that’s when I got hold of this penetrating neo-noir, ‘Galveston’ – A dark intrinsic debut set in the lifeless ambience of Galveston, a coastal city located in the state of Texas hovering over three neglected lives on the run. Roy Cady (‘Big Country’ as called by other folks at the bar) an aging mob lackey who clears debts for his boss in New Orleans has just been diagnosed with cancer and sensing that his own boss wants him dead through a routine assignment that turns into a deadly shootout, Roy finds himself on the run with some important papers, an eighteen year old sex kitten named Rocky with a heart wrenching past and later her three year old sister, Tiffany. Not really an expected trio, but that’s how it went. Written in a two-split narrative track with a jump of twenty years, Galveston takes you on a sleazy ride in the lightless highways of east Texas with a banality of southern country-western bars and a worn out motel where Roy and Rocky- two lugubrious souls with shrinking hopes to survive try to figure each other’s inducements.
The world of Nic Pizzolatto is not for the happy-go-lucky ones. It circumnavigates around the inner monologues of characters like Roy and Rust who wear their pasts like straight-jackets, avoiding social conventions in this disintegrating world and backpacking philosophy of people like Thomas Ligotti and Friedrich Nietzsche. These people while swimming in nihilistic depths also conceive a tiny pore of humanism in them which explains their deeds. Nic has built a habit of feeding their viewers/watchers a blend of incandescent temptations and pessimistic soliloquy served with violent sceneries of depressing countryside and alcoholism. He makes sure his prose serves the story not just for its validity but also for his love of capturing the southern theme where bars, glocks and trucks are cherished. Galveston is clever, engrossing and does the job like a reliable hitman and if you’re already a ‘True Detective’ fan, this book is just another hit from that bong.