After escaping captivity in a mental institution, Samuel reaches a train station where he joins forces with his equally eccentric comrade in arms, Robert. Despite feeling observed by spies working for the antagonistic demon gnomes, they set off on a destructive road trip in search of finding Roger’s mentor, known only as The Mole.
Meanwhile, at the White House, the clueless buffoon-like President becomes the subject of an elaborate hoax, orchestrated by a controlling character known as The Aide. When he’s not busy planning humiliating jokes to spring on The President, The Aide enjoys playing the role of puppet master to the corruptible key players in Washington. In order to get more financial support, The Aide visits a secret society who initiate, control and promote corruptible political figures.
In THE OUTLANDISH AND THE EGO, author O. Ryan Hussain successfully explores the absurd, childish behavior and malicious motivations of political figures and men of great influence. This common, over-the-top characterization is present throughout various scenes in the book, such as when the campaign manager throws a verbose and violent temper tantrum at his caddy after missing a simple shot on the golf course. Even The Aide is willing to drug his own wife in order to use her as sexual currency to gain support from and leverage over his competition.
Hussain’s more appealing characters include Samuel, the escaped mental patient who believes that little men enjoy attacking his brain on a regular basis and, “If by one thirty, I haven’t brushed my teeth, who knows what kind of indecent things could happen to the natural world order?” Then there’s the aforementioned friend Robert, a man from Indiana who entertains a “fascination with dead Russian writers and his consequent demand to be treated as a loyal child of the motherland.”
While Hussain’s narrative switches between its’ many characters, his writing style makes it easy to distinguish one plot line from the other. The tone and voice of the novel is as humorous as the title suggests, making it an ideal read for fans of dark humor, exaggerated characters and multiple plot lines. That said, while the characters are highly engaging, the reader would greatly benefit from a few lines–or even an additional scene–designed to increase the reader’s sympathy for, and understanding of, his characters earlier on in the book.
THE OUTLANDISH AND THE EGO is a dark comedy that takes readers on an absurd and delightful trip, culminating with an unexpected climax.
~Erin Coughlin for IndieReader