Life is enchanting enough. No one needs to have some mysterious force capriciously over-turning the natural order of things from time to time in order to keep my attention. It’s worse if these notions inculcate some blind faith in miracles that set aside the laws of the universe to reward those who deserve a break in the pandemonium. We all deserve respite from evil, and it is this constant that it is worth pursuing towards a permanent, enduring peace
Michael Nesmith, The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora
What the hell is "The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora" about? I couldn't read it. I tried, but it was painful and I had to stop. I love Mike's songs, but a novelist he is not. I'd appreciate if someone could summarize it or at least tell me if there is anything interesting in it.
Ah, such an excellent question. Haha. It is rather challenging to describe “Neftoon Zamora” in its entirety, other than that it’s a thinly-veiled autobiography of Nez (three guesses as to who the “narrator” is) with several of his fantasies thrown in.
In fact, if you’ve ever had the opportunity to sit with Nez and listen to him tell stories, that is pretty much exactly what the writing in Neftoon Zamora is like. Lots of metaphors and phantasmagoric imagery, with the occasional zinger/unexpected joke or phrase thrown in here or there. Nez’s ability to paint a picture/tell a story in his songs is masterful, but when it comes to prose fiction, he’s sort of like Tolkien: Describes everything in lots and lots of detail, meanders through passages without seeming to have any idea where they’re going, and basically doesn’t get that the Ambien-like effects of their writing may have put the reader to sleep five paragraphs ago.
But NZ does have its good points, and is certainly easier and less confounding to read than The America Gene, Nez’s second novel. It may be that that deft use of poetry that serves Nez so well in his songs just doesn’t translate over well to fiction (though do consider checking out the audio book for Neftoon Zamora, because it’s somehow both uncomfortable and hilarious to hear him read parts of some of those chapters). Also, Nez’s forthcoming book, Infinite Tuesday, is non-fiction, and it’s those tales at which he seems to really excel, so hopefully IT will be a more compelling and interesting read than his previous efforts.
Anyway, hopefully this all helps to answer your question. As a semi-related side note, your ask is greatly appreciated for the opportunity that it gives for a critical discussion of Nez’s work. We all love Nez, obviously, but it seems almost disingenuous to say that everything he (or any artist) does is brilliant. Because if everything Nez does stands out, then nothing really stands out. His whole body of creative output is so diverse (music, television, books, virtual reality/computer-based media, sometimes hybrid combinations of several of these) and reaches people in so many different ways that there’s no way for every fan to have the same reaction to what he does.
So, yes. Many thanks for sending this question in, and good luck to you with finishing Neftoon Zamora (should you brave a second attempt). :D
Hmm..Well, I guess you might be curious about this sort of thing. So…I’ll just get it out of the way before moving on to other things….
“I saw Neffie, standing by the fireplace, building a fire. She was naked and as the fire began its first yellow glow of life she turned and walked to me and sat on the floor next to the couch, her long beautiful body backlit with the flickering firelight.
She lay her arm across me and began to rain kisses on my face, caressing my shoulders. As I slid off the couch and into her arms I ran my fingers through her hair, feeling each thick strand throughout its extraordinary length.
I sank into her embrace and into her heart, engulfed in her gentle beauty as our kisses fell onto one another with a mounting intensity, meeting at a point between us we each could see. We stayed wrapped in each other until the day had gone and there was only the halo of moonlight across the room and shadows looming from the fire. We had not spoken a word.”
–Michael Nesmith (The Long, Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora)
That part where Nez had sex with Neffie (chapter 1 or 2, not much of a spoiler!), and the next morning found her near him so he stretched out his leg to brush hers with his toes… It read weirdly, but intimately. And as much as I hate feet the thought of Nez brushing his toes along my leg isn’t something I’d rule as a turnoff.