My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Combine Henry Miller with Camus and Sartre and you have Walter Mosley’s sexistentialist novel Killing Johnny Fry.
When Cordell Carmel discovers his longtime lover Joelle is having an affair with a casual acquaintance Johnny Fry, Cordell descends into a long day’s journey into night. Cordell immediately quits his job and proceeds to have affairs with multiple women and plots Fry’s murder.
Cordell’s psyche is sent deeper into an existential abyss through his obsession with a high-end porn movie, the Myth of Sisypha.
What follows is a sexual odyssey–and sexually explicit that leads Cordell, bent on revenge, into a hallucinatory adventure with Sisypha herself at an underground combination orgy/Fight Club in which Cordell’s very being is at stake.
In many way’s reminiscent of Camus’ The Stranger and perhaps even Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” the novel’s climax—spoiler alert—ends with Johnny Fry shot down, although it becomes murder by proxy, as Cordell himself cannot go through with the act.
It’s dark exploration of Eros, worth the read. But, don’t expect a story of redemption. Cordell is an existentialist anti-hero at the same level as Camus’ Meursalt.