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Askew Review 15

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THIS FEELS LIKE A RIOT LOOKS by Kilian Betlach (Mutiny Pressings) Fiction, 2005. 324 pages. In one sense this is the story of pulsating, untamed youth. 20 year old Mark lives in the Ft. Lauderdale of 1997 and fronts a local punk band that seems like itís really starting to take off. He also writes a popular independent weekly column and is considered a main man when it comes to the Scene. Mark lives with his band mate and best pal Sean, and despite a semi-recent, somewhat devastating breakup with his last elusively-fascinating-yet-ultimately-shallow-seeming girlfriend, life should still be generally good, right?
  Wrong. No matter how much potential his life seems to have, Mark becomes more and more distant from his daily surroundings. The Scene, which Mark basically broke with his upper-middle class family to embrace wholeheartedly a few years earlier, just ainít what it seemed like it always would be. Markís innate intelligence and ability to really FEEL things drive him to a situation where thereís ultimately no turning back. And this brings us to the major theme of this tale, which finds Mark essentially confronted with the choice of betraying someone he loves or, when itís all said and done, betraying himself (at least the part of himself defined by his unbridled desire to experience the best, most pure reason to be alive).  If youíve ever been even remotely in this situation, youíll appreciate Kilian Betlachís mastery at conveying this quandary. Youíll also love the way he has things play out. No easy answers here, and Kilian ainít trying to give you a cheap solution anyhow. Fuckiní powerful good stuff.
  And throughout This Feels Like A Riot Looks, Betlach is great at portraying the gritty, all-or-nothing day to day life of the young band member/scenester. The painful, broke, hungover mornings that become nights of promise with old friends, even when it turns into the same old/same old yet still end up vibrantly are fun as hell to read (assuming hell is somehow a fun place, of course). I enjoyed the fuck out of this book. ĖBen Hunter




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