REVIEW: The Inevitable June by Bob Schofield
The presence of narrative cohesion usually signals the existence of a comprehensible story; however, a text can be wild and unexplainable despite the presence of these identifiable components. Bob Schofield’s The Inevitable June is a perfect example. At once a collection of art, a series of loosely interconnected passages, and a playful collision of hitherto unexplored couplings of language and ideas, this short book defies categorization and challenges the reader. Yes, The Inevitable June lacks a definitive plot.
The nameless narrator offers what could be considered daily journal entries that deal with a plethora of feelings and actions that range from the commonplace to the fantastic, with the latter being much more prevalent than the former. In fact, even the “normal” actions are performed within the realm of the surreal. The passages take place during the thirty days of a month of June of an undisclosed year and include a plane, an octopus having sex with its own meat, an unnamed woman, and a horse made of light bulbs. The feeling that there’s a hidden meaning behind the all the chaos is inescapable.
Given that the book is a maelstrom of ideas, any paragraph serves as synopsis:
“Back when I was eight inches tall I wanted to be a bullfighter. Now I reach for a lemon. I eat the peel. I eat rows of tiny men in top hats. I grow into a radioactive monster and start beating up the sky. I wipe down every dish inside your floating dream fortress.”
This is a brave book and it resembles nothing else out there. Schofield is pushing the boundaries of reason by aggressively stretching language in delightfully odd directions. The result is a disjointed narrative that has enough structure to be a lot of fun nothings or a text packed with profound meaning. While this duality is enough to make The Inevitable June a thought-provoking read, perhaps Schofield’s most impressive accomplishment is the ease with which the text facilitates suspension of disbelief. Here is a world in which a woman releasing fish from the nets in her belly that subsequently explode into universes is not only acceptable but almost reasonable.
The artwork presented in the book adds to the surreal feel of the text. The drawings seem to explore loneliness, sadness, and identity, only to then morph into a visual storyboard where a giant black octopus that lives in the sky devours an airplane. Also, there are a dozen pages in which a black box gives birth to rhizomatic tendrils that take over the page and suggest further invasion, which is something that invites analysis as much as the narrative itself.
The abyss between Schofield’s ideas and what’s on the page is at once inexistent and insurmountable, and that dichotomy makes The Inevitable June a special tome despite the fact that it can be read in twenty minutes. Significance appears to be there, just beyond the reader’s reach, beckoning:
“This morning I locked into a staring contest with an ice sculpture version of my inner child. His icicles grew into my nose, leaving white columns there. His sweaty palms numbed my face off. By noon he had completely melted.”
This is a book that begs to be deconstructed and interpreted, while also managing to not take itself so seriously. The Inevitable June is a funny mix of words and art that can be taken at face value without it losing its power. Schofield achieved something with this strange combination of hilarity, tragedy, and art, but describing that achievement, just like understanding the book, is something better left to the reader.
by Bob Schofield