Outstared by a Bullfrog
One moment, you are drawing to a conclusion a surprisingly successful business meeting; the next, crashing violently through the window. In the last few seconds you have left to live, what do you think about? 'Outstared by a Bullfrog', is a meandering love story embedded in marbled layers between astral projections of dozens of other stories, of regressions, visions and transformations. More
“One moment, you are drawing to a conclusion a surprisingly successful business meeting; the next, crashing violently through the window. You are, in a flash, falling backwards, hopelessly, from the top floor an office block. As you gaze up for the last time at the clouds in the sky, in the last few seconds you have left to live, what do you think about? Who do you think about? What's the point? Who are you, anyway?
In 'Outstared by a Bullfrog', you are an unmarried, self-obsessed 40 year old man, whose development has, somehow, been arrested by a single event that "happened to you" more than 25 years ago. You have lived your life since then in what might be termed a persistent vegetative adolescent state. You never did grow up, and face the world, like a man, did you? In a word, you're a wanker. A wanker. And you're a failure. And a loser. It's all very well realising this now, you think. It's too late to do anything. Now God is going to catch up with you, much sooner, than you thought. It's too late to change anything, isn't it? Isn't it?
'Outstared by a Bullfrog', is a meandering love story embedded in marbled layers between astral projections of dozens of other stories, of regressions, visions and transformations. The telling is fast. Frequently, it is frantic, with words hurtling down like hail under a sequence of passing squalls on a mountain; sometimes to the point of almost obscuring the plot entirely. But never quite. The clouds break, you see the path, again. So, keep going, is my advice.
This book evokes at times and in different ways, echoes of J D Salinger and at others, Leslie Thomas. That being said, Burrett writes energetically, with the eccentric un-beholden voice of a true eclectic. His unfettered use of language is wilfully inconsistent and inventive. His terms of reference are unconventional, unpredictable, often highly personal and sometimes truly obscure. He frequently surfaces as the writer, to comment, challenge, extemporise, theorise, and complain. His perspectives are unequivocally and consistently male. And honestly so. The tone is bold, often lumpy, and sometimes coarse. But not relentlessly. So don't be put off by 'Genesis'. This is an authentic story about male angst from source to middle age and Burrett deserves credit for his candour, and writing like a bloke.
There are undercurrents, here, to rich waters where Burrett invites you to explore an ocean of contemporary issues, from sexual behaviour, to parenting, child development, family and gender; to science, philosophy and ethics; psychology and psychotherapy. 'Outstared by a Bullfrog', questions received wisdom, in all its forms. It is about a man's relationship, or not, with his adolescent self; his father, his mother; with all women, breasts and muff, thereafter; and above all, it is about his relationship, or not, with God.”
- Billy Marsbar
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