Drop Edge of Yonder

Book, 2008

I picked up Drop Edge because its author, Rudy Wurlitzer, wrote two of my favorite movies; Walker and Two Lane Blacktop. I had always heard it was also linked to another of my favorites, Dead Man (it turns out Dead Man was “unofficially inspired by” Drop Edge in its original screenplay form). Drop Edge lived up to all those expectations. Its passive protagonist greets the kaleidoscopically surreal world he inhabits with a shrug of acceptance, navigating from one disarmingly strange and oddly stirring scene to the next with such frequency that you feel like he must have lived ten lives (as is appropriate- we’re in tall tale territory here). That protagonist, Zebulon, is trapped between the worlds of life and death and is compulsively drawn to a woman in a similar situation, each hoping that they can help free each other from purgatory. But if there’s a through-line in this story, it’s lost in the tornado of wild mountain doin’s that question whether or not those big questions really matter. Drop Edge drifts back and forth from addressing its themes, to not, then back again, like a dead leaf lackadaisically drifting to the ground.