The Outlandish And The Ego -  O. Ryan Hussain 5/5 stars

       As a fan of weird fiction I loved Ego a lot. It takes political scandal and mixes it together with one characters who is clearly suffering from schizoprehnia and there's Roger who thinks he can turn himself invisible, but clearly can't. This to me is the glue that holds the novel together. They embark on a journey, but have no idea how that journey will end. Then you have the other side of the story which involves a weak president who is being controlled, and is too weak, and even too stupid to stop it. It's the greed here that keeps the momentum growing and shows us a darkside to the political process that doesn't seem all that farfetched given our current political climate.

      For those who have never read Vonnegut. or even like their fiction told in a linnear fashion won't like this novel all that much which is a shame because Hussain is a talented writer who has not only written a great novel but has given us the characters that shouldn't work at all, but do. They keep the story moving. You have two men who are desperate to keep running the country and two men who are trying to free themselves from the gnomes that are controlling their minds. It sounds totally insane, and it is. The amazing thing is, it works. The book is at times laugh out loud funny, but the goal here is to merge these two random plots together, and it does so effortlessly.

      Sometimes great novels go against everything we're taught about fiction. The weird novels that are brilliant, and defy traditional story telling slip through the cracks. A novel like the Outlandish And The Ego is a great piece of storytelling because it shouldn't work, but Hussain has the talent to pull it off. It's an engrossing debut that reminds us that great novels can be weird, and they can take us places we never knew we could go. It's funny, and most of all it's brilliant.


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