Book Review: Shuck

This book is so casual and readable you’ll want to take it home each night: “Yesterday was December 8, the day I turned twenty-three. Whoopty-freaking-doo. I decided to go out and have some fun, to try and forget that I also had twenty-three days left to turn this year around and prevent it from being a complete failure.” It’s sort of adorable: Jaeven Marshall is a bit of a slut, a bit of a player and a bit of a writer too. Shuck is a novel that you think you’re listening to with earbuds on a semi-long, semi-hard bus ride. You like to hear about dirty sex, especially from a stranger because deep down you like to think that we are all hilarious dirty strangers. You like to hear about torrid sex and as you’re listening to this life you realize what time it is and are astonished that you don’t fall asleep but then remember the voice you’re listening to is spoken softly and a bit coarse and it’s full of juicy details and desires and aspirations, and it’s going somewhere. And you want to believe every word. And it’s hopeful: evil in a cute sort of way. And it’s well dressed, and you want to be its friend. It is suddenly something you can’t live without. “I wouldn’t have learned to ride the subway for free if they hadn’t revealed the secret in the Daily News. There was this guy who had figured out how to bend MetroCards in just the right place, creasing a mysterious point in the magnetic strip to romance the turnstiles forever.” Anyone who has spent any time in New York or longed to should read this book. “His spit was more viscous than mine, and it felt warm and silky on my tongue. His eyes, lined with black kohl, were closed, and I wondered what pictures he was playing on the inside of his head to have melted his sullenness into this living liquid in my mouth.” There is so much to admire about Shuck. It’s like Michael Turner’s The Pornographer’s Poem’s younger sexy cousin. Aw Shucks! (Nathaniel G. Moore)

a novel by Daniel Allen Cox Arsenal Pulp Press Suite 200, 341 Water Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1B8