Book Review: The Drive by Tyler Keevil
From the front cover to the last page The Drive has all the dials turned to madcap as Tyler Keevil follows in the dust trails of the great American road trip. This kinetic journey through the backside of America lives firmly in the shadow of Fear and Loathing
The action starts in medias res with Trevor, our protagonist, fearfully swallowing his stash as he is questioned at the American border. Successfully gaining entry to the hallowed land, he is propelled through a series of bizarre, comic encounters as he desperately attempts to outrun his feelings for ex- girlfriend, Zuzska.
In a series of flashbacks we get a little backstory on their relationship but the main thrust of the novel is concerned with Trevor letting go and seeing what America has to offer.
‘This here is a forty-four magnum,’ he said. Even I knew what that meant. That was Dirty Harry’s gun. Pigeon flicked open the cylinder to load it. The rounds for the Magnum were big and squat and glistening, like slugs. I guess that’s why they call them slugs.
As the outsider exploring a foreign land, Trevor is a magnet for the various deranged individuals that populate the back- ways of the Pacific NorthWest. Ostensibly travelling south to meet an old friend in San Francisco, Trevor’s journey corkscrews through the States like a sidewinder. As he travels, he throws himself into proceedings with gusto, in a bid to lose his breakup blues, but underneath it all remains the quiet Canadian boy apprehensive of the brash southern neighbour.
Whatever America had in store for me wasn’t going to be good. I mean, I’d shot her national bird. She wouldn’t be happy about that.
The novel falls short during the occasional moments where it reaches for deeper spiritual connections. The nutty philosophies on life, the universe and everything that the other characters expound are engaging but when Trevor picks up his own kitsch idea of synchronicity it can feel like an over eager undergrad.