Review: Perfect Union

Perfect Union is definitely weird.  Its concept (sort of a meditation on socialist politics with insect/human body-horror) is totally weird, but the approach is that of a more traditional horror tale.  Goodfellow gives us a group of strong characters with real-world problems and lets them slowly slip into a bloody and dangerous world.  The three guys, Drew, Dean, and Dom, are on a trip to clean out their missing mother’s house.  Simple enough, but unbeknownst to them, the family matriarch is missing because she’s been abducted by the commune.

The details of the commune are satisfyingly perverse and horrific.  To put it simply, the commune has literally spliced the communist ideal to the genetic efficiency of honeybees.  And just like bees, the people there have become drones, serving their hive and devoid of individuality.  Mom was taken in by them because they needed a new queen.  They need a new queen because there’s been a strike that has thrown the entire hive into civil war.

Besides politics and Cronenbergian horror, Perfect Union is a story about brothers.  Dean and Dom are twins, and are just as different as they are alike.  Dean is a stern, holier-than-thou conservative and Dom is an anarchistic rebel.  Dean is obsessed with structure and discipline, while Dom makes it a point to resist any structure or authority other than his own.  They’re two extremes, order and chaos, which provides them their own strengths and weaknesses.  Before long they’re drawn into the political schemes of the commune, and their bodies are horribly mutated (along with their personality).  Naturally, they wind up fighting on opposite sides of the strike.  Drew, meanwhile, is the hapless in-law, married to Dean and Dom’s sister, Laura.  Laura’s got plenty of problems of her own, and Drew is trying to repair their marriage as he and his in-laws are sucked into the commune’s world.

I loved the concept behind Perfect Union.  There are loads of cool scenes filled with honey and gore, and the relationships between the characters were very real and interesting.  However, the geek inside me wanted to see more of the inner workings of this weird insectoid society.  The commune/hive provides a very interesting allegory for the nature of communism, but we don’t get to see too much of it.  Goodfellow approaches his story as a horror tale.  He reveals bits and pieces as the story goes on, and details about the commune still remain mysterious until the very end.  I can’t really argue against that, as the mystery is all part of the terror for the characters.  And Goodfellow’s characterization is excellent here.  His prose is elegant and has a lot of atmosphere to it.  If you’re in the mood for weird horror with a mind for politics, Perfect Union is highly recommended.

Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Union-Cody-Goodfellow/dp/1933929030/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279757208&sr=8-1

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