Razor King by David Britton, Savoy Books, Oct 2017, 300pp, £20.
Razor King is David Britton’s seventh novel, the latest in his series of absurdist novels about the Jewish Holocaust.
The novel has a loose narrative of sorts, but mainly consists of a series of fantastical series of scenes and descriptions of three or four main characters, the razor-wielding Lord Horror, engaged in dispatching Jews with his razor, and his two grotesque associates Meng, a sexually voracious half-man half-woman, and his emaciated and more reflective brother Ecker. There is also Meng’s pubescent daughter, the winsome La Squab. There are also two talking cars with libidos and an alien boy made of confectionery. The settings involve among other things crematoria, the Wild West and a ship crewed by rats. Britton certainly has a vivid imagination and a knack for putting his creations on the page.
Needless to say, Britton does not in any way endorse anti-semitism, but is attempting to expose its psychopathic and un-empathetic nature.
Continuing a trend begun with La Squab in 2012, Razor King is illustrated throughout by Kris Guidio, this time entirely in full colour. The book contains thirty double-spread full colour illustrations, depicting Britton’s grotesque characters, along with crematoria, Ken Reid’s elf characters Fudge and Speck (from Reid’s comic book republished by Savoy) and various characters redolent of Edgar Rice Burrough’s books. The images contain some cartoon nudity.
Let’s be clear, this book is for adults only, and further to that, it’s for adults not easily offended. This is a brutal satire on anti-semitism, and everything in it references Hitler and the Jewish holocaust. While reading it however, I was forcibly reminded of a more recent event, the ethnic cleansing of the Rohinga from Burma.
‘Razor King’ is a significant exercise in transgressive speculative fiction, extending on an established teadition, and deserves some serious attention. The artwork alone would make it worth examination. (CD).