THE NEVERMIND of BRIAN HILDEBRAND
published by Crowsnest Books 2018
ISBN 978-1-895131-27-7 and 978-1-895131-28-4 (ebook)
Original jacket art and design by Kevin Cockburn
Is there life after death? Or, more to the point, is there life after life?
Brian Hildebrand is in a coma. Severely brain damaged in the unlikely and self-inflicted accidental event of being run over by his own car, he is diagnosed as being in a permanent vegetative state. Sounds grim, doesn’t it?
But wait. This is a comic novel, and Brian is not the vegetable he is deemed to be. In fact, he is the narrator and protagonist of this possibly impossible tale.
Unbeknownst to his caregivers, Brian is fully conscious, fully cognitive, fully aware, and, inexplicably, smarter than ever. A prisoner in his own frenetic brain, he has morphed into a polymath and multi-dimensional thinker, and is, somehow, able to tell his off-the-wall story as it veers tale-twistingly and mind-bendingly from the haunting to the hilarious, abetted by a far-out cast of characters, possibly of his own creation. Possibly not.
I’m sincerely indebted to everyone at Crowsnest Books for their incredible support in my entry to the Leacock Memorial Awards for Canadian Humour. And my success at achieving longlist status. Thanks, too, to family, friends, and all my enthusiastic reviewers for your encouragement.
REVIEWS for THE NEVERMIND of BRIAN HILDEBRAND:
“… a very funny and inventive novel.
In The NeverMind of Brian Hildebrand, Myers pulls off quite the feat of storytelling. His narrator is in a coma, and yet, he kept me turning the pages and chortling away, all the way through to the end. An extraordinary novel that few writers could have written. Luckily for us, Martin Myers pulls it off brilliantly.”
TERRY FALLIS, author, winner of two Stephen Leacock Medals
“A man in a coma for five years cannot possibly be fun, but Brian Hildebrand is.
A book this funny cannot possibly be profound, but this one is.
It should be wildly implausible, but it isn’t.
It should be terrifying, but it isn’t. It should be depressing, but it surely isn’t that.
Myers has always been a funny writer, but here the funny is harnessed in the service of a deep reflection on the nature of reality and existence; the dizzying wordsmithery not just dazzling for its own sake, but a way into the possibly plausible and the impossibly possible: a very quantum idea.”
MARQ de VILLIERS, author, winner of two Governor General’s Awards, and 18 other awards
“As Albert Einstein has observed, ‘Creativity is intelligence having fun’ – and that is an apt description of Martin Myers’ latest gem, The NeverMind of Brian Hildebrand. On page after page, Myers offers us unbridled creativity, astonishing intelligence, and loads of cheerful wordplay [and other fun] in almost every paragraph. He and his characters make us laugh, make us think, and they make us very grateful to be ensnared in such a delightful literary web.”
PAUL CHUTKOW, author, journalist and foreign correspondent
“With Brian Hildebrand, he has created a memorable character who defies his impossible health condition to become our guide in a fantastical story.
As in his previous novels, Myers brings his trademark wit to bear. His prose works with a one-two punch – first it provokes and amuses, and then leads to deeper reflection on the human condition. Myers’ creative powers are up to the challenge of channeling Hildebrand’s wild, unmoored imagination, as he consorts with a cast of fantastical support characters.”
PETER GIFFEN, author, editor
“Martin Myers takes satire and humour to new heights with his latest novel, The NeverMind of Brian Hildebrand. The cast of characters and storyline are vintage Myers, whom I first encountered when he taught writing to university students lucky enough to land him as their instructor. Our place in the universe and what it all means are themes he continues to explore, at the intersection of Socrates and Woody Allen.”
JERRY AMERNIC, author, journalist
“…a mind-bending, mind altering, and mindful novel, narrated from the perspective of a young man locked in a coma, who is fully cognizant and aware of his surroundings.
Brian Hildebrand can’t communicate outwardly, but boy, can he think!
And think he does about the biggest existential questions, spirituality and ultimately the meaning of life. Myers’ writing is peppered with razor-sharp prose, poetic musings, and a generous dash of wordplay and puns. The heady narrative (or is it meta narrative?) is a hilarious tale of a family and the ragtag cast of characters drawn to them and their Brian-induced plight. It also features a few other-worldly folks who drop in and out of Brian’s brain and whose other questionable existence never stands in the way of their angst-driven insecurities. Myers created an original and complete world that is both ahead and of its time.
The pace is breakneck, the prose is breathtaking, and the premise brilliantly hilarious.
MARTIN WAXMAN, author, digital strategist and consultant
AVID READERS DISCUSS THE NEVERMIND of BRIAN HILDEBRAND:
“Anytime a book keeps me thinking about it for hours after I have finished, I deem that a success. I would definitely recommend this novel.” Melise Gerber
“Surprisingly different thriller set inside a comatose patient’s mind. Stunningly original but built on the real feelings of all with loved ones in comas. It’s a great read.” Diane Hernandez
“For anyone who loves the English language, this book is a real gem.” Rosemary Standeven
“Witty, smart, funny and entertaining. Love the writing style of this author. The narrative is engaging and filled with humor.” Arlene Arredoondo
“What a premise; a tale told with mesmerizing characters bent on creating havoc. Highly recommended.” Cindy M
“Wow! What a great read! Strongly recommend!“ Janice Lombardo
“An entertaining and fun to read novel. Really interesting and recommended.” Anna Maria G
“Wow! What did I just read? … a gut-punch finish. Humor and wordplay throughout, along with the uniqueness of the tale, warrant the high rating for this very unusual story.” Fran W
“This book is sort of genius.” Elizabeth B
“The facility with the language is the best part of this story For an inventive and original novel, to me it was certainly worth the time. I suspect some of the things I read will come up again in my mind, what more could an author hope for?” Cindy Lauren
“What an unusual book! I was hooked from the start and really liked the central character, Brian, from whose perspective we see the story. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes something different.” Emma B
“This book delighted me and reminded me of the realistic science fiction approach, mingled with sarcastic wit and humor, of authors like Kurt Vonnegut and Chuck Palahniuk. An enjoyable read that I would recommend to others and a wonderful sense of word play.” J.D. DeHart