Action, Figure by Frank Hinton
my childhood back’ Lili states. This may be the heart of the book. Aging is
terrible. A curse is associated with accumulating years. One realizes their youth
wasn’t wasted enough. With the sheer passage of time it becomes obvious that
life is not based on success. Characters in this book want to live. Success is
a by-product of life not the goal. Searches here involve the mundane of looking
for work, pleasing parents, and the surreal journey of looking for others to
complete us through bombed-out lonely streets.
in this story worry about adulthood. Being a Twenty-something is the worst
possible experience. Twenty-somethings are young enough to remember an easier
time but not old enough to make any impact on the world. Hence the characters
play on playgrounds as an attempt to bridge the gap between childhood and
adulthood. Action figures are a way of imposing order on the world. Little
plastic figurines are a way to control order using child voodoo. Pressures
exist for jobs, mortality, keeping in touch with families, etc. Getting messed
up is the main way they deal with the problem. Nobody finds it weird that they
are busy consuming drugs. Playing with action figures in a public bathroom,
yes, that needs to be lied about. Fictional cities in the center of a room are
quirky. Quirk is a substitute for maturity. Hinton shows the effects of this
quirk over time.
is shown in Frank’s simple pleasures of life. Life sucks him into the world
despite his desire to never leave university life. He’s in a form of arrested
development. Video games cheer him up. They let him live life over and over
again without consequence. Games encourage him to die give him multiple chances
to get it right. In Frank’s life nothing is right. He’s awkward. Friendships are
hard for him. People keep leaving. Original tenants, inhabitants of the house,
left to join society while he hides in the basement.
culture is depicted vividly throughout the book. To be a twenty-something is to
be alone. Characters generally enjoy the amount of time they spend by
themselves. Much of the book focuses not on interactions with others but seeing
the world through the characters’ eyes. This is about them and how they deal
with not being able to deal with life.
resides beneath this sadness. The surreal elements here are quite funny. Lili
views the world differently. Sudden random breaks to and from her mind make it
rather funny. In particular the party scene at her house captures the
contentment of a close group of a few friends. On the opposite end Lazuli’s party
is an example of being on the outside of a party, failing to fit in among the
happy ones. Or moving through a club and getting disconnected with reality. Both
turn out the same way, empty.
Hinton is an anonymous unknowable online figure this is an extremely honest
portrayal of finding one’s way completely alone. Is anonymity the best way to
be honest with others? After reading this I’m inclined to say yes.