Electric Zen For Neon Koans by J. Martin Strangeweather
Electric Zen for Neon Koans is an experimental tour de force told in eighty-one koans (Zen riddles) rather than traditional chapters. The story involves a married intersex couple (Phil and Ruth) and their attempt to find peace with themselves through the ingestion of a mind-altering substance in the jungles of Mexico, except this is no ordinary hallucinogen. The drug in this novel causes metafictional hallucinations. The story explores the trials of traveling, the complexities of long-term relationships, the bizarreness and wonder of language, how it is that we come to acquire knowledge and understand ourselves, and the experience of sublimity, including a unique account of the moment of enlightenment. It's also about a warrior trying to return to a home that no longer exists. Phil and Ruth become intensely real and alive throughout their journey, while you (the reader) turn into a piece of fiction, finding yourself in the same predicament as the protagonists by the end of the novel.