Guy meets girl.
Guy and girl take lots of drugs.
Guy and girl have even more sex, especially of the smearing cocaine all over your genitals and going at it like rabbits until you have an aneurism variety (you know… that kind).
Girl takes off, and guy spends 150 pages sitting in his apartment taking drugs and going on and on about how useless life is, even though he doesn’t work and seems to have a bunch of money left over from being a drug dealer.
If that sounds like your idea of a good time, then Stealing Heaven from the Lips of God, by Dee Rimbaud, is the story de jour for you.
The novel is presented to the reader as an “Internet Journal” (which, we can assume, is basically a blog) so the entire story unfolds day-by-day from the keyboard of Robbie the hero-narrator-drug dealer-guy. While at times there is immediacy to this point of view – such as when Robbie is waiting, frantic, stoned at the computer waiting for Kathryn to show up at his dingy flat – far more often the reader is treated to endless hopeless bromides about how this is it: the pain just can’t get worse than this.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of This is Spinal Tap, when a featureless, black cover of a record album is described as “none more black.” Likewise, huge swaths of Stealing Heaven are none more black.
Stealing Heaven from the Lips of God is Dee Rimbaud’s first published novel. As his other published works are collections of poems, it’s easy to understand that the author does not yet have a hold on building and maintaining a story in the novel form.
There are passages that are quite beautiful, striking, racy, or edgy. The setting of Jimmy’s Fantastic Kingdom, the apartment-fortress of Robbie’s dealer friend, is London gangster cool, and attains a kind of gritty Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels feel. But all too soon we’re trapped back inside of Robbie’s head and treated to yet another drug/sex binge.
There are later developments, of course, with Robbie and Kathryn and the will-they-or-won’t-they get back together question, but I’ll leave that for anyone who’s up for getting into it to find out what happens.
I couldn’t help myself from thinking, “Come on Robbie. Cut the sophomoric dribble, get away from the computer, shut up, clean up, and volunteer at a pet shelter or something.”