Review of Mat Laporte's Rats Nest

October 9, 2016

 
Feeling almost as if spilled onto the page, in a fragmented dusting of information that spirals deep into an abyss comes Mat Laporte’s Rats Nest.
Data captured from the world’s first 3D printed boy as he descends into bottomless pit where he encounters globular creatures and he learns pain. Sluggish potato things and vomitous creation, oh my.
Every chapter is a new flash of existence. Science fiction, fantasy and magic realism dip darkly as the author spills forth oddities of the lives collected within the lines. There is grave detachment that at first can feel somewhat confusing, though eventually settles as the norm. Most scenarios lack a beginning or an end, they just are. The only connections are breaths and even then in some cases it a little less than that.
Disjointed or not, the horizon dragged me forward in an amalgamated rhythm of fascination. Sometimes feeling like a Greg Bear tale, at other times feeling like a Philip K. Dick and then going completely sideways to convey something like a literary translation of a Quentin Tarantino film on space mission, this story somehow manages to not only work, but work well.
To suggest a heavy dose of scattered lives under a magic microscope would endear in such an effective way should seem unlikely. Oh defeater of likelihoods! 
It is difficult to describe what exactly went on for those 166 pages (even then with a goodly sum of white space). I know that what I read was intriguing. I know that what I read had an addictive quality. I know that I read this in an evening because -strangely given the narrative’s lack of hanging suspense- I was enthralled and absolutely had to see where it went.
This is Mat Laporte’s first standalone length work and it is a triumph of oddity, pacing and imagination. Rats Nest is the kind of story that upon completion leaves behind a ponderous sticky residue while simultaneously invoking the urge to lie back and light a cigarette. This story rocked in a way much larger than its page count.
 
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Unnerving 
Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
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