I usually try to come up with a title for these reviews that references, but does not include verbatim the title of the book. This time, I can’t improve on the title, so I say to and about A.B.Funkhauser, great title for an equally great book.
“Scooter” Nation is a nice double-entendre. “Scooter” on the one hand hooks us into Scooter Creighton, one of the main characters in Funkhauser’s debut tale, Heuer, Lost and Found. On the other hand, another of the novel’s most significant elements involves a fleet of motorized scooters ridden by aggrieved disabled people who zip around protesting both handicapped access and other community political issues.
Heuer involves the shenanigans of the owners and operators of a family-held mortuary with a tangled web of relationships, both fiscal and personal. Scooter opens with that same mortuary in the hands of the unfortunately-named Jocasta Binns, the main surviving member of the conflicts in Heuer. (Tantalizing glimpse: You find out how Jocasta came by the name of a legendarily incestuous Greek queen.)
Binns is a deeply angry and unhappy Martinet who alienates her staff and family and inspires a rebellion. The tactics of the rebellion could have been carried out only in a funeral home, which makes for great reading. So, as in all of Funkhauser, you see common human interactions carried out in a most uncommon environment.
In my review of Heuer I complimented Funkhauser on her “zesty prose” as well as her characters. Here’s a two-in-one quote that illustrates both.
Enid. . . should have puked all over her shoes. She should have spewed all over Carla too, but she didn’t. . . her guts steadied steadied to a workable calm just like they always did in the face of a threat.
You’ve got both a reaction on the part of a major character as well as a mirror into her internal life. Furthermore, her emotional responses manifest in real action later in the novel. Thus, the lives of Charley Forsythe and Scooter Creighton and the rest involve us not only in entertaining capers but in deep and meaningful emotions as well. A terrific read with, I understand, a sequel on the way. Keep ’em coming, A.B. And to the rest of you, join the audience.