Friday, 1 June 2012


Title: Lamia

Author: Tristan Travis

Year of publication: 1983

Back cover blurb: '"I have set out to resurrect Lamia from the obscurity of ancient legend.  A classic persona, archetypal rape victim, once ravished by Zeus, cursed by Hera, driven deeply strange by her own guilt, this beautiful, beguiling spirit slithers dwon through all literature, her motif as rich in metaphor as it is universal and haunting.... she is fiercely herself, a true demon of the distaff, embodying perhaps that which lurks in all women, the sorrow of the sexually repressed.  And the rage."
   Tristan Travis

"Ol' Tristan Travis or whatever that name is he's signing his stuff with has been an irritating success ever since I met him twenty years ago... at everything from basketball to bongos to boxing, at which he was a national champ.  So it's no surprise to me that his first novel is a bloody knockout."
   Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the the Cuckoo's Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion

"I can think of no way in which I could prepare our readers for this."
   Australian Book Club executive'

Quick flick reveals: This strange supernatural detective story seemingly involving an ancient spirit of sexual frustration manifesting itself is notable for carrying a quote from Ken Kesey on the back, something you don't see on that many other books, to my knowledge.  This, allied with the fact that no one knows who Tristan Travis is, and no other sign of his existence has ever come to light, means that it is wondered whether Lamia is actually by Kesey himself. I'm pretty sure there's some software that could analyse the prose style and give a definite answer one way or the other, but no one's thought to enter it yet.  Anyway, the book looks pretty fucking crazy.

Random paragraph: 'He slipped the arms back under the sheet and then tied the ID tag with its wire to the big toe of her right foot.  Before rolling the drawer back into the locker, he ran his hands under the sheet again, felt her breasts.  Not a half-bad pair.  He pulled at them roughly, poked and slapped them about.  Suddenly he felt a twitching in his pants.'


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