"Come back early or never come."
–Neil Gaiman - Bitter grounds
What makes you want to abandon your life? To chuck it all and just leave? In Bitter grounds we are never told exactly why the narrator leaves his home, but it certainly has something to do with a woman. Whatever his reason our protagonist just up sticks and drives off. Living in his car until he decides he really needs a bath. So he checks into a motel. While there he encounters Jackson Anderton, a man who needs some help, so our narrator plays the role of the Good Samaritan and drives him to his broken down car so Anderton can meet the the tow-truck. Only he has forgotten his wallet.So back to the motel goes our protagonist to collect the wallet and return to the car and Anderton. Only there is no one there when he returns. Only some smashed in windows on the car, a briefcase with some papers, but no one around.
So continuing to abandon his life the narrator takes off, with the wallet and Anderton’s conference paper on zombie girls.
So far so intriguing. A lot of unknowns going on in this story so far. And more to come
He drives to New Orleans, and all the hotels are booked out, so he uses Anderton’s name to get his room. And finds himself getting to know some of the other anthropologists. Going for a night out with one, and having yet another strange encounter.
But again with the not knowing anything. I often enjoy being thrown into a world and a story not knowing what is going on, but usually there is some sort of hint and explanation along the way. None here really. There are zombies and drug addicts, but while all combine to create a great atmosphere, there is more to an entertaining story that atmosphere. I liked the narrator, but I didn’t get to know him enough. I suppose I just needed something more to grab me.